May 2008 Upfront

Trend Analysis
Pink’s future has a AAA rating

Futurist Daniel Pink is the hottest item on the education lecture circuit these days -- it seems everyone wants to know what’s ahead for education and the economy.

Pink’s answer: abundance, Asia, and automation.

Abundance covers pretty much all the “necessities” that older generations would scoff at. For instance, people didn’t realize how unfulfilled their lives were without iPods or designer toilet brushes, says Pink, the best-selling author of A Whole New Mind. Homes keep getting bigger, and the self-storage industry is booming because people have so much stuff.

Despite all the dismay over the perceived outsourcing of jobs, the Asia factor really hasn’t been realized, he said at the Consortium for School Networking’s (CoSN) annual conference in Washington in March. “Off-shoring is overhyped in the short run, but underhyped in the long run.”

The United States still leads in the manufacturing economy, but Pink noted that more routine work is being sent to India and to Asian countries where people with college degrees and certifications work much more cheaply. India’s population is more than 1.1 billion, and by its sheer size it will produce many more qualified workers than the U.S. Plus, the Internet has made communication much, much cheaper and easier.

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