"Yankee Doodle Lowlands"

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Lowlands 2025 Scenario2.jpg

Focus on innovation (2005 - 2012)
The Lowlands recognise the need to invest in the future. The government increases the money spent on education and gives incentives to technology students. The trend of declining technology students in the period 1995 – 2005 has been broken and each year the number of technology freshmen increases with 4%.
Technology based companies like Philips, Shell, ASML and ESA benefit from the increasing economic situation. They increase their R&D budgets with 35% to ensure their leading positions in the world. They focus on globalization and attract top scientists and top (inter)national PhD students for their innovation projects. Many of these PhD students are from the millennium generation, which means they developed excellent communication skills besides their technology skills. Universities and technology companies conduct combined research programs, where they develop new technologies. Since the technology companies and the universities work intensively together, these companies can select the best students to work for them.
Social integration becomes a major issue. The population is aging and the forthcoming financial challenges put pressure on the incomes for the elderly and the unemployed. Although the population in the middle and high segment incomes have good perspectives, the low income class has difficulty catching up in the technology based economy. The unrest is strengthened by international Muslim conflicts and terrorist threats.
People either flourish or miss the boat (2012 – 2018)
The Lowlands gain a dominant competitive position in the world economy. They have outperformed the rest of Europe in terms of an annual 3% GDP growth. They flourish in technology and they keep their economical position in logistics and trade. The Lowlands also continue to be the main port of Europe.
Philips and ASML have become dominant global players for logistical solutions. They have patents on tracking- and tracing solutions. This technology is licensed to Asian countries, and the consulting segment greatly benefits from this. ESA conducts an ambitious space program, based on the technology of Philips and ASML.
The government identifies three pillars for further development of the economy.
• Water management - The number of floods in the world increases dramatically. The government believes its traditional competitive advantage in fighting the sea, can be exploited further. An “Institution of Water Management” is established and crown prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands is the main ambassador of it.
• Green energy - Shell holds strong patents on hydrogen cell technology. The traditional energy sources are likely to deplete in the near future, and hence new and green sources of energy will be vital.
• Medical equipment for heart deceases - Hearth diseases are increasing dramatically. ASML and Philips Medical have already invested heavily in this sector. They have invented new scanning and “dotter”-technologies.
International leading pharmaceutical companies have invented new drugs. The academic hospitals in the Lowlands have been appointed high budgets for the application of the technologies in combination with the new drugs.
Although the economy is booming, the Lowlands face serious problems in their societies. The income inequality has increased tremendously. The reason is both evident and concerning. The new technologies and spin-offs in licensing and consulting only benefit the highly educated. The less educated have difficulties to cope with the changing economic dynamics, and consequently have missed the boat. The society resembles the free market American model with all its social challenges. The lower class regards society as unfair, but they have no choice than to develop themselves.
Ethnic groups have established political parties to support their communities. As a counter reaction of the upper class, new right winged political parties have emerged. Many rich are completely fed up with the fact that ‘their’ money is being spent on security and (ethnic) unemployment payments.
Religious fundamentalists have grouped to make a fist against the evil western society. Terrorist attacks on public transport have taken place and the AIVD has grown tremendously to enable infiltration.
The government identifies the need to focus on additional education, especially in the area of technology. A large portion of its funds are allocated to education. An additional annual export of 3 billion Euros of gas makes this investment in the future possible. Many youngsters take the education opportunities seriously and the Universities grow into globally recognized expert centers for technological developments in logistics, aerospace, water management, hydrogen cells and medical solutions.
Segregated but wealthy Lowlands (2018 – 2025)
The economies in the Lowlands are flourishing. The technology companies are booming in the exploitation of their technological products. Consulting companies are also leveraging on the technologies and many consultants of the Lowlands are participating in major international projects on green energy, water management and logistics. The Lowlands have above average GDP growth in a flourishing world economy.
The social challenges are still increasing in the Lowlands. The additional funds for education of the less educated have not led to a significant improvement. The big4 cities segregate along ethnic lines; the autochthones account only for 20%. The crime rate is high. Upper class people move to wealthy villages, where they establish their ‘own’ society with high level entertaining facilities in new hip places. A separate Ministry of Security is established for the increasing crime in the cities and the ongoing threat of terrorism.
A main public debate is taking place on how to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor. The Ministry of Security is highly concerned about the media power. The media is abused as a communication medium of right winged elements to display unethical, sometimes even racist, messages. The Ministry has launched campaigns to convey the message that the new extreme right winged parties do not offer a solution for the disintegrated 2-class society.
The ageing population, at its peak as of 2020, has not become detrimental to economic growth. Utilization of private funds on security, education, healthcare and unemployment, has enabled the increased spending on social security. Older people with limited spending power are frequently taken care of by relatives. The few rich oldies can enjoy their old days in nice private institutions, where they have all kind of facilities and many nurses to take care of them.