About Me

My photo
Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

How about a 2050 Summit?

With all the current fuss about the 2020 Summit, it's easy to forget how close 2020 actually is. It's only twelve years away, the same number of years as the life of the 1995-2007 John Howard era of government or the 1983-95 Hawke-Keating era. For baby boomers like me who still remember the 1983 election vividly, that's not long.

The 2020 Summit is really looking at stuff that's quite short term, though at least its thinking will go beyond one electoral cycle. This is a good start in imagining the future (and not just the next three or five years) as something that will be different ... yet in ways that we can actually influence. But why not think beyond that?

Admittedly, a point arrives when there's so much contingency that it scarcely helps to speculate, but surely we can think at least a few decades ahead. One bright idea that the 2020 Summit probably won't think of (though maybe it'll surprise me in the morning!) is to follow up, not too long down the track, with a 2050 summit. That would give us all a chance to think in a much more visionary way about Australia's future, not just about what might be done during the forthcoming Rudd era (if Rudd ends up being as resilient a politician as Howard).

How about it?


Blake Stacey said...

I think there's a typo in "the 1995-97 John Howard era".

Brian said...

Hang on. 12 + 30 = 42. I'm 35.
35 + 42 = dead for a few years.

Unless modern medicine can fix the damage from my sozzled, slovenly lifestyle. I hope so anyway, then I won't have to watch the crash of civilization when we finally realize the the Earth don't have enough resources for 6 to 10 billion folks who want to have my lifestyle.

I'll focus on my beer. ;)

Russell Blackford said...

Yeah, typo fixed - I noticed it, too.

You're such a pessimist Brian. I fully intend to be around in 2050, and I'm older than you, dude. I'll be on the wrong side of 90 by then, but so what?

Brian said...

You're such a pessimist Brian.

Well, maybe a little. But that post was, as is my style, tongue in cheek. :D

Still go no idea of how we're gonna solve the problem of lack of resources. Seems we're getting food riots already.....Anyway, I'm sure the 2020 summit has that in hand (see, I'm optimistic too!)

As for living till 90. We'll see, maybe if I live that long, I'll master philosophy and calculus.