Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

June 2004

Era of Demographicy

So, this magazine has been continuously published for 20 years.

Enough of that; let's look at the next 20 years.

I see it as the "Era of Demographicy."

Combined with the extraordinary shrinking of our globe through instant communication is the unprecedented increase in longevity and the weird demographic bubble of the so-called baby boomers heading out to pasture.

In the United States, the new retirees are the first fully drug-conditioned cohort to enter retirement. Previous generations encountered something of a pill shock, as for the first time in their lives they had to find the answer to what ails them in an assortment of little greenies, stripies, gel caps and tablets. This was all presaged by Aldous Huxley in his book Brave New World. Remember, everyone was comforted by the friendly advice, "Don't give a damn, take a gram."

All the fuss and fury about the price of prescription drugs is being driven less by the greed-bag pharmaceuticals than the shifting away from an apple a day to statins, diuretics, blood pressure regulators and other chemical protocols as a way to deliver health care. Where a generation or so ago, seniors were counseled to "take it easy" when they noticed a decline in their giddyup, today's generation simply adds another jar of the stuff they're on.

And, once on, there's little chance of getting off. The only reason to get off your aspirin regimen is to minimize the complications of your knee replacement surgery. So that's one biggie that will dominate the next 20 years of commercial activity the care, dosing, and entertaining of people determined not to feel, look or act their ages.

Cool.

So what else is going to happen?

As wealth and capital are realigned from one generation to another, there will also continue to be technology and cultural transfers that will test younger generations. There are still a few old fogies skating by without ever becoming computer "literate," but that won't last for long. Downloading rap tunes is probably good preparation for doing business in the next 20 years.

There are few businesses that won't be challenged to compete globally. This magazine might be one of the few that earn a pass. While our website gets a pretty good workout from international information crunchers, we're not likely to abandon our beat of local business people. I'm kind of curious as to how well our local heroes are going to fare over the next couple of decades and with the right mix of pills and spare parts, I just might get to find out.