Why you should care
Throughout the 2010s, a few moments marked shifts that will define the 2020s.
This is an OZY Special Briefing, an extension of the Presidential Daily Brief. The Special Briefing tells you what you need to know about an important issue, individual or story that is making news. Each one serves up an interesting selection of facts, opinions, images and videos in order to catch you up and vault you ahead.
WHAT TO KNOW
We all know where we were when the big moments happened: the 2016 election, Brexit, the death of Steve Jobs. But the 2010s were also filled with smaller moments — notable at the time, but easily forgotten in the endless march of the busiest decade ever — that will continue shaping the world in 2020 and beyond.
HOW TO THINK ABOUT IT
Xi’s got a way. In March of 2018, China’s Communist Party voted to do away with term limits, thus allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in power for life. That’s a decision that will shape the 2020s: Xi is on track to become the most influential world leader of the decade and to shape the world in China’s image, much as the United States attempted to do for parts of the 20th century. And, given his human rights record and use of the security state — both demonstrated by the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang — that could mean a serious turnabout in world values.
Privacy wars. February 2014 saw Facebook buy WhatsApp — and the subsequent six years have seen the social networking behemoth merge its own messenger service with WhatsApp and Instagram Messenger, another Facebook acquisition. That merger raises serious privacy concerns for WhatsApp users accustomed to end-to-end-encryption. What’s more, as users grow increasingly wary of how their data is used by Silicon Valley, plans to break up Big Tech — currently being put forward by Sen. Elizabeth Warren — could gain traction and reshape the internet of the next 10 years.
Black Panther. It’s just a movie, right? Wrong. The movie, released in February of 2018, was the first superhero film with a predominantly Black cast and the first to be nominated for best picture. Black Panther — along with other blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians — heralds a coming decade in which people of color are no longer sidelined in Hollywood. This year’s Oscars could see not just Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite nominated for best picture and best director but also The Farewell, Jojo Rabbit and Queen and Slim.
WHAT TO READ
25 Ideas That Will Shape the 2020s, in Fortune
“Andrew Barnes, the founder of a New Zealand estate-planning company, in 2018 introduced a four-day workweek for his 240 employees. After a carefully managed trial period, Barnes found employee engagement had improved by 40 percent. He’s now made it his mission to get companies around the world to reimagine what they ask of their staffers.”
The Decade, Explained, on Vox
“When Colorado and Washington state voters opted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012, they provided a model not only for how other states might pack their coffers with tax and tourism dollars (Colorado says it has reaped more than $1 billion in taxes since sales began in 2014), but also for how they could undo the legacies of the drug war.”
WHAT TO WATCH
Greta Thunberg at Extinction Rebellion
“Everything needs to change and it has to start today.”
Watch on Real Media on YouTube:
Father of Six Dies After NYPD Chokehold
“I’m an empty shell right now.”
Watch on ABC News on YouTube:
WHAT TO SAY AT THE WATERCOOLER
Greenland new deal. Reportedly it was President Donald Trump’s obsession with a plan to buy Greenland that inadvertently led to his impeachment this week. State and Defense Department staff said last month that they were unable to focus on the aid scandal in Ukraine for which he was impeached because the president ordered all the National Security Council’s resources turned toward the Greenland idea.