SUGAR, DRONES AND GUNS

Industries transformed by sudden regulation

This is going to be a strangely different Christmas.

No matter how good the sugar substitutes, Christmas treats just don’t taste the same. And the kids don’t like it.

I cannot buy junior a drone. Will he be satisfied with a virtual drone game instead?

The gun store at the mall has shut. In its place is a pop-up store selling smart digital Christmas decorations. They should help light up what is becoming a rather different season.

These three industries, sugar, drones and guns have all been transformed drastically by sudden and convergent regulation over the past few years – something that would have been almost unimaginable ten years ago.

We did of course see the sugar thing coming but underestimated the speed of change once the regulatory changes started. Tobacco took more than 40 years to fall off the shelves, but sugar and corn syrup have disappeared after just a decade of serious pressure.

Drones are now completely banned for personal use. First came the ban to fly them above 15 metres (that aspect was handled with smarter software) and then privacy issues in built-up areas killed off the remaining usage. Now a special licence is needed and granted for exceptional purposes only. Several young drone entrepreneurs have seen their businesses crumble in less than 12 months.

It was the Washington school massacre of 2017, in which 350 students lost their lives within driving distance of the White House, that put the final nail into the gun lobby’s best efforts to keep the gun as the icon of Americans’ personal freedom. Obama’s stern opposition and ongoing hate attacks had created a platform for a change in national attitude and this final grand horror in Washington precipitated the ban on personal gun ownership, implemented in just 12 months.

It just goes to show, you can’t make big change slowly.

Christmas will be different this year – but so much better in the long run.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.