As official non-mayors of Carmel, we can’t help noticing how slender is the thread suspending our $1.3 billion debt.
The thread is a forecast of dubious merit.
The future is under no obligation to imitate the past. But, we Carmelistas are under a $1.3 billion total obligation in that very future. And, forecasts based on the future imitating the past are dangerous.
It is well, then, to consider four trends so enormous in their implications that our City Counselors ought to respect:
- The information rampage revolutionizing the retail merchandising, entertainment and real estate industries and the workplace, itself;
- The nature and needs of the Millenial Generation;
- Populism and a lack of trust in government, and
- The innovations in what McKinsey & Co. calls “smart cities.”
Free, fast, complete information resources abound in every cell phone. The retail meltdown is decimating mom-and-pop stores, leaving a few giants with massive on-line revenues. The media world – news, sports, entertainment — is a new world. Audience sizes are plunging and, with them, ad revenues.
Limitless information and entertainment resources in a common cell phone free you from limited, costly alternatives as they have freed you from brick-and-mortal retailing. We n olonger invest in movie theaters, Blockbuster stock or Sears.
As the Baby Boomers transformed American society in the last half of the last century, Millenials will transform it until 2050. Far from slackers vegging out in the folks’ basement, these are well-educated, idealistic, ambitious professionals in everything from carpentry and plumbing to quantum mechanics and artificial intelligence. And, they won’t settle for yesterday’s ideas — about fashion, family or fun.
Or, work, for that matter. They don’t seek offices with cookie-cutter cubicles, same-sized desks and a coffee machine. Their offices are in their backpacks and cell phones.
Millenial Populism, “the great revolt,” is characterized by pragmatism, patriotism and intelligence. As the conservative groundswell has 4,000 of the 7,300 state-level legislative seats and 33 governorships, liberal Progressive candidates continue to win in coastal states in the northeast and far west. Progress deficit spending and subsidies are bankrupting Blue States. Populism is up but populism among Milennials is up even more. Top-down no longer appeals to young Americans.
As for trust in government, the Edelman Trust Barometer registered a 9-point fall last year when just 43 percent of Americans express confidence. Lack of faith in government fell 14 points to 33 percent among the general population and 30-33 percent among informed Americans.
As technology reshapes the world, Carmel builds parking ramps, retail shopping areas, office space and heightened congestion.
The Current recently cited a series of studies noting “the rise of Urber and Lyft — and the decline of both taxi revenue and airport parking — is just one example of how quickly a market could change.”
How will driverless cars navigate roundabouts? Will Carmel ban driverless cars in favor of buggy whip shops?
Want to discuss this further? Invite me to your book club or volunteer group or neighborhood get-together. A chair. A table. A cup of coffee. Carmelodians. Just jab firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m there.