Predicting the Future

Two-day conference at GW sponsored by The Economist examines what’s ahead for the United States and the world.

May 08, 2010

With less than a month to go until the year 2010, some of the world’s top thinkers, analysts and policymakers gathered at GW for a two-day conference on trends, issues and ideas affecting the world in the upcoming year and beyond. Hosted by The Economist, “The World in 2010” examined in-depth a wide range of issues and ideas that promise to affect the coming year, including the economy, education, politics and sports. The conference, held Dec. 6-7, benefited The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and included Host of NBC News’ “Meet the Press” David Gregory Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Austan Goolsbee of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, famed chef Jose Andres, Chancellor of D.C. Schools Michelle Rhee, and many others.

GW served as host for more than 15 conference sessions, with topics ranging from “Innovation in the Middle East” and “The Future of the Classroom” to “Around the World with Economic Predictions for 2010” and “Business of Sports in 2010.” The conference kicked off at GW Dec. 6 with the Daily Show correspondent/writer John Oliver’s take on the upcoming year at the Jack Morton Auditorium.

On the afternoon of Dec. 7, Rep. Cantor and Mr. Gregory served on a panel in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium titled “Politics in 2010: Moving Pieces,” a review of politics around the world and the “political temperature” in the United States. Moderated by Economist Executive Editor Daniel Franklin, the panelists included Political Editor for Sky News Adam Boulton and Founding Partner and Managing Director of The Glover Park Group Joe Lockhart.

Rep. Cantor predicts the economy— and the lack of jobs— will continue to be a major issue in 2010 and beyond for a “grumpy electorate.” “People are scared. They don’t see leadership in Washington addressing their concerns,” says Rep. Cantor. “President Obama was elected because he said that we needed change, but what people in this country want now is certainty.”

The panelists also discussed the growing dissatisfaction toward the Obama administration. Noting the current heated debate over health care, Mr. Gregory remarked that presidents lose popularity when they become directly engaged in lawmaking, which he described as an “ugly process,” and suggested the current attitude may change with time. “Presidents become unpopular when they become involved in legislation,” says Mr. Gregory. “Presidents are evaluated by achievement, and they like to achieve. So when President Obama does get health care reform passed, you’ll see it’ll become more popular as it goes along.”

For the past 24 years, The Economist has published a collection of trends and predictions about the upcoming year. “The World in 2010” conference was The Economist’s first summit tied to this publication.

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