Much of my work as a futurist is based on science, facts, research, stuff that really isn’t up for debate.
So it was really quite sad yesterday to read the New York Times article yesterday, How the Anti-Vaxxers are Winning.
Clearly there are vast sections of the population today who do not believe in science. They don’t believe in facts. They don’t believe in much other than what they want to believe in.
Their belief system will increasingly drive their attitude and understanding of their healthcare circumstances.
Going forward, this new reality will prove to be a tremendous challenge for the healthcare system.
Essentially, lots of people are going to succumb to lifestyle disease — diabetes, heart disease, obesity related illness. They will refuse to accept the science based fact that what they eat, how they live, and what they do (or don’t do) are directly responsible for their condition.
They will be fed information that will lead them to believe that it is not their fault. They will choose to read information that absolves them of blame. The healthcare system will not have the funding, resources or money to deal with them.
Many will die an early death.
I try to be an optimistic futurist all the time, but on this issue I am not, and I think the healthcare system needs to do some thinking on this issue.
The World Economic Forum posits that the global economic impact of the five leading chronic diseases — cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, and respiratory disease — could reach $47 trillion over the next 20 years. Clearly, the world needs some big bold initiatives. Sadly, for many, there will be little appetite for the same.
Some basic maps put things in perspective, offered without commentary: