We have heard many experts suggest that the United States will be changed, and the future is still to be written.
I write this from Indianapolis while sitting in Starbucks, beside a corporate executive. He told me a local story about "his city". The downtown area of Indianapolis had lagged behind, aged and become "long in the tooth" for decades, until a few years ago, progressive leaders took steps to "rebuild downtown" into a new and attractive place, that people, and especially out of town visitors could enjoy. New restaurants, new storefronts, new hotels and hundreds of millions of dollars invested to bring downtown back to life, with great success.
"Downtown Indianapolis was back!" and a destination to be popular! The people of Indianapolis were again proud of their downtown Central Business District.
Then my friend told the "rest of the story": "Racial leaders decided to make downtown Indianapolis the location for new racial protests and demonstrations."
Thousands congregated on downtown streets, and their chants of 'BLACK LIVES MATTER', evolved into trashing and vandalism of downtown Indianapolis. Store fronts, businesses, restaurants, broken windows, theft and general anarchy ensued. In a matter of a couple of days, over 20 years of planning and reconstruction, hundreds of millions of dollars spent to upgrade our downtown, and it was "turned into what looked like a 'war zone'" he said.
This coupled with the "Corona Virus Pandemic" created a 'One two' punch, creating two black eyes for the city of Indianapolis.
I asked him, "Did the demonstrations generate sympathy and support for black people in town?"
"No, unequivocally no!" he told me.
"Violence and vandalism, only creates hurt and anger. Did the black lives matter movement, in downtown Indianapolis help the plight of black people? No, it simply created hurt, resentment and anger toward those violent people" He said.
So now, leaders of Indianapolis, must start again, on what to do with the downtown area of their city. Rebuild it again, only with the risk that another group of demonstrators will destroy it again, or just give up?
As I see the United States, and the prospect of a long term problem with Corona Virus, and various divisive groups in America, we must wonder what the United States will look like or be like in the future. We believe, one thing is certain. The America of the future will be different. I suspect that there will be less tolerance for "street violence" in the future, regardless of whether it is led by Blacks, Nazis, White Supremists, "Radical thugs with guns" or whatever unhappy fringe groups decide to trash our cities. Frankly, I am not interested in supporting any group, that believes that violence or vandalism is "their cure" for whatever ills or anger they hold.
I see an expansion of activism to attack nice suburbia, and note more programs attacking the concept of zoning and development of gated or nicer areas for those who prefer affluent lifestyles. It seems to me, a Democrat, a hard working citizen, that any person who has worked hard, has a right to want to build a nice home in a nice clean part of town, consisting of other people who have worked hard for their attained success. I don't care if they are green, or white, black or whether they are bald or hairy, I don't care what church they attend, nor do I care about their politics. I simply believe, work, the work ethic and success has it's own rewards.
In every culture, there are strata's of success. Some earn and work and find the methods of saving money, investing and achieving success. Obviously those people wish to live in and build nicer homes, and over the years, there have been development of lower income areas, middle class areas and upper class areas. Those who have worked hard, built successful businesses, and achieved success, naturally hope to have a nice home, and live in nice areas. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. The "membership" is not based upon race or politics, it is based upon success and the rewards of a capitalistic system.
But I do believe we will see more gated communities, and areas that offer people of success protections, and more security for the privilege that their success as given them, the reward of living in nicer areas, safe, secure places. But many in the future society may even opt for another style of life. That is their choice and their freedom.
One change we may see is this. There has been a massive move of many people selling their homes and buying Recreational Vehicles. What we once called "Trailer Trash" who lived in "Trailer Parks" and now finding that a huge influx of new owners of nice, luxury RV's are finding that living in an RV, and enjoying visiting the beautiful areas all over the nation, is not a bad lifestyle.
I visited with a couple who paid $700,000 for their RV, and on either side of me are RV's from $100,000 in value to $700,000. It is a relaxed and "flexible" lifestyle. With good systems, they can set up their offices, internet, and use these as mobile offices to communicate with employees and yet not worry about "real estate taxes" and security for nice homes. We will see this trend continue to expand. My company appraises properties, and we have seen mobile home lots, go from $5,000 up to $50,000 or more, and these lots are often very small, perhaps 40 feet wide by 70 feet deep (dimensions will vary).
As I write this, I have visited RV parks with country club style meeting and eating places, swimming pools, parks, and even sports and entertainment areas. It is a new cultural movement in the USA. We will see more of this in the new USA.
With Corona virus, vaccinations, some people will hopefully feel more secure, but, I believe that good restaurants will do more "delivery", "catering" , and "outside drive through" services.
More and more businesses will be stressing "virtual offices". The new young CEO's and work force are internet savvy, and they find that a "virtual office" that they can work at, at almost any location, has advantages over a central office with work spaces and cubicles. The new work systems of the USA will developed more and more advantages for "virtual offices". We are already seeing doctors who prefer to have a "Virtual" meeting with their patients than personal visits, thus new "virtual" methods are being developed. Perhaps the new hospitals of the future will not be 8 story buildings with beds on every floor, but smaller facilities, stressing virtual visits by Doctors and Nurses, and all surgical procedures will become smaller concentrated facilities, and a new meaning for "out patient" services.
The new entertainment world, and public meeting centers may not be in buildings, but may revitalize the old "drive in theatre" concept, where mass meetings may be in huge drive in theater facilities with multiple screens, or even screen images transmitted to their auto computer screens or cell phones. Former President Obama, did a speech at such a facility just yesterday. Politics will be forever changed by the "new USA".
Banks, loans and lending will become "virtual meetings" and on line interviews. I spoke to a bank manager in New Mexico who told me that an infected person walked into their bank lobby and 7 bank lobby employees had to be sent home, quarantined due to exposure to the virus. We may see more and more on line bank visits and procedures in the future. Physical handling of money (currency) may change, and we may see a true "cashless society" where people do not have to handle or touch or count actual dollar bills.
Eat out, or have the restaurants have cooking and food vehicles bring your "meal out" right to your home. We will see more of this in the future, perhaps a Steak House, will drive to your house, grill your steak, baked potatoes and prepare a salad and deliver it to your patio or front door.
Go and sit at a Starbucks and use your computer there? Perhaps there will be a Star Bucks, RV that goes to clients and neighborhoods and delivers special brewed coffee blends to your location.
Perhaps downtown areas will become "plazas" and "walking areas" and the huge "office buildings" will be converted to "sanitary germ free condos" where a new use of those skyscrapers will be for luxury living. Each will have meeting rooms, conference areas, but steeped in high technology and communications areas so that everyone has access to "virtual meetings" with rapid speed and capacity.
Air systems, ventilation, even built in disinfectant systems will be built into every residence, every office, every room. We now have systems that can purify the air electronically for any air conditioning or heating system. But we will see enhanced built in systems to purify the air and environment of every room, building and structure. This will become a part of new building codes. It will be built to inhibit new plagues or viral infections.
Power! Power will come from more solar applications, more wind power, more solar power, and new developments in energy efficiency. The cost of electricity will go down, and new forms of lighting and other power efficiency enhancing technologies will change the demands for energy in the future.
We see these and many more trends for the future of life in the USA. Stay tuned.