Image: ValueWalk

17. Ethics will increasingly drive consumer choice and investing strategy.

Consumers will increasingly make purchase & investment decisions based on their resonance with the ethical positioning of a firm. These will get amplified by industry, particularly the insurance industry, which needs to price in risks related to climate change or regulatory malfeasance. University endowments may feel pressure to adjust their investing stance and divest from certain types of assets (or companies.) I’ll be intrigued to see if the #metoo movement gets reflected as an investment risk.

18. Buddha, Aristotle, Hayek and Marx make a comeback.

Marx because the last fifty-year consensus between workers and employers and financial capital is strained, so some will look for the pendulum to swing back.

Others will look at the combination of increasingly cheap energy (reducing the cost of production towards nil) and increasingly capable machines (reducing the average human’s ability to be paid for their outputs) and argue only a state of radical abundance — or “each according to their needs” can work. Critics of greater central intervention in our collective affairs will raise the spectre of Marx, and often through Friedrich Hayek’s critique of it. Hayek’s notions of the market as the most effective information discovery and transmission mechanism will attract more interest as blockchain-style networks show their utility as resource coordination systems.

Aristotle re-asserts himself because while we are wealthier than ever before, his call for eudaemonia (human flourishing) will seem to stand above the noise of “recommended for you” consumerism. Buddha’s relevance will be driven by a greater awareness of mindfulness and contemplation in our dopamine economy. Equanimity will be a helpful characteristic during turbulent times. And as machines appear to be more and more lifelike, and neuroscience unravels more mysteries of our consciousness, the quiet contemplation of our subjective personal experience may become a sanctuary for our humanity.