The effort to find a catchy future year in which to target unrealistic plans and predictions has been settled. The clear winner is 2020, a local academic announced last week, but others say it’s too early to tell.
The year 2020 emerged from the pack of future years because of its pleasing-to-the-ear repetitive cadence and its implication of good vision, says Peter Trout, professor of social trends and future history at Lipscomb University.
“We’ve been needing a new year ever since we got to the year 2000,” Trout says. “At least since 1975, predictions and expectations were centered on accomplishing various social goals by 2000. We were going to have no homeless people by the year 2000, we were going to have every child reading at grade level by the year 2000, and so on.”
Now that it’s clear that none of those goals were accomplished, it’s necessary to find a future year that is far enough away so that nothing needs to be done immediately, but is close enough to imply that the problem is actually on the radar of government and advocacy groups, Trout says.
“I’ve already heard that we’re on track to end illegal immigration, global warming and abuse of illegal drugs by 2020.”
Advocates of other years say that Trout’s declaration of victory for 2020 is premature.
“No doubt about it, 2020 is a strong contender, but I don’t think we can say that it has definitively defeated 2015, 2021 or even 2025,” says Barbara Colzek, professor of public policy at Belmont University. “Just the other day, I heard Dick Cheney say that we will be out of Iraq and have secure ports by the year 2025.”