Declining Dragons, Expanding Elephants, Digital Nomads and DAOs

Andrew Spence
3 min readMar 1, 2023

Five Global Mega Trends That Will Drive the Future of Work

This is an excerpt of an article that you can read in full on Workforce Futurist Newsletter.

When thinking about the future, technology plays an important role, but there are many other factors at play.

The recent ChatGPT interest reminds me of some wisdom from Roy Amara…

We tend to overestimate the effect of technology in the short run and underestimate for the long run.

With some help from Elephants, Dragons, Digital Nomads, and DAOs — this article picks up on some of the global macro trends that we should not underestimate when thinking about work in the coming decades.

1 — Declining Dragons and Expanding Elephants — Why it matters that India will become the most populous Country in the World in 2023

India will surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.

By the end of Century, it is predicted by the UN that China will have a population of 800 million. India’s population will peak at 1.7 Billion in the 2060s.

Demographics is not destiny, but China’s population is both declining and ageing.

Why does this matter for work trends?

The largest impact on work in the last 40 years has been 600 million Chinese workers joining the global workforce. This led to an unprecedented reduction in poverty in China. It also constrained wage increases in Western economies. Cue the rise of nationalism, populism, and other pernicious ‘isms’.

Now the tide is turning. The Chinese workforce has peaked and fell by 40m from 2010 to 2020.

It remains to be seen if India can supply workers to the global economy as successfully as China has. The current boundaries to this happening in India are well documented, from lack of women in the workforce to weak infrastructure and training. There were challenges in China in the 1980s too.

Demographics are also shaped by hot and cold wars. We are in the middle of a cold war between two global superpowers, the USA and China. The battleground ranges from US Treasury Bonds, to Intellectual Property and the production of Computer Chips.

What to Watch in the East?

China extending the retirement age for ‘blue-collar women’ which is currently 50. There will be more incentives to produce future workers — the ‘one-child policy’ is long since gone, and married couples are now allowed to have 3 children.

The pace of investment in Indian people, infrastructure, and industries.

Read the full article about the other 4 Global Work Trends That Will Drive the Future of Work here.

2 — Industrial Evolution — From the green energy transition to Robo-Taxis and personalised medicine

3 — The Unbundling of Work — From Gumtree to LinkedIn

4 — Work Rebundles Into New Teams — from techie coops to DAOs and Digital Nomads

5 — Less Formal Jobs, More Security — A New Deal For Workers?

How to Think more like an Elephant🐘 AND a Dragon🐉

Andrew Spence is an experienced, independent, Workforce Strategist who publishes Workforce Futurist Newsletter.

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Andrew Spence

Passionate about making work better. Writes Workforce Futurist Newsletter.