The Teenage Decade: 2010 - 2019



The fabled year 2020 is now well upon us. January is almost over and it is time to take stock of the second decade of the 21st century; the years 2010 to 2019. Yet, before we look at this period which is a contemporary topic, let us look at some perspective. For those of us who have spent some time in the 20th century, this century had often been hailed as a landmark. A fabled utopia of technological advances, democracy, equality and most of all peace! After the devastation of the two World Wars and the continuing warfare across all continents in the 20th century, people could have only looked with hope for the twenty-first century. Despite the extensive devastation wrought in the last century, it was a century which saw immense technological growth in all sectors. As also, the arrival of a fledgling democracy in the most underprivileged countries of the world that were hitherto colonized by the European powers. Thus, the masses across the world looked to the next century as some sort of panacea. This was exemplified by many movies, books, fiction and non-fiction which attempted to determine the course in the 21st century. Vision statements were framed. Millennium goals were set for a variety of parameters. These ranged from human developmental factors to health to economic indices. These were soon to be revised from 2000 to 2020 as most of these targets proved to be fanciful.

Now, as we are well into 2020, it is time to look back and see how we have fared with the expectations. Of our generation as well as that of our forebears. The decade of 2010 to 2019 was a most momentous one. It was the “teenage” of the 21st century. And like a typical teenager, it has behaved unexpectedly and sometimes ruinously. Much to the chagrin of world leaders and humankind. Globalization, aided by technology, has made its inevitable march. Now the world is connected like never before. While there were massive technological leaps in this decade, perhaps the defining technology of the teenage of this century has been the, seemingly puny, smartphone. There are near as many smartphones as there are humans on earth. In some western countries, China and others, smartphones easily outnumber people. Like any other technological device, it is a mixed blessing. It has made numerous mundane tasks automated. Yet, its extravagant usage threatens to shake the very basis of society by drastically decreasing human interaction. But the march of the smartphone continues. It is the defining paradigm in technology, society, freedom of expression, economy, culture, arts and many other areas. There is no going back on the smartphone. It is to the 21st century what was the Gutenberg press was to the middle age Renaissance period.
Much has been made of the technological advances and the relative ease which it has brought to our lives. These were inconceivable even 20 years ago. Yet, this decade has also brought hitherto unforeseen challenges. I shall be touching upon just four of these. These, I feel, will determine whether the 21st century becomes a fairy tale or a horrendous catastrophe. These are Climate Change, Antibiotic Resistance, Economic turmoil and the Retreat of the Democracy.

Climate Change. If there is one jargon which has been used, abused and bandied about in this decade, it is Climate Change. As school students in the previous century, we were taught about pollution and greenhouse effect. It was something alien and distant. In this decade we have seen the undeniable effects of climate change first hand. My science teacher in 1989 would have scarcely believed that her pupils would live to see the melting of polar ice. At that time, it seemed centuries away. We also believed as school students and as young men and women that we have time. And we can while it away. This decade has taught us that we have indeed whiled too much of it away and now we have run out of time. Each year of this decade has seen great natural disasters and calamity. All have been a direct consequence of climate change. From Tsunamis, melting ice, freak weather to Australian bush fires. The list is long and tied by the common thread of Climate Change. The time is now. We have to take action now. Otherwise, we might well be the last generation of humans on this earth. This is the greatest challenge thrown up by this teenager decade. We humans have to come together to tackle it.

Antibiotic resistance. The 20th century has seen tremendous achievements in life expectancy across the world. Also, seemingly insurmountable epidemics that killed half the population of entire continents in the previous centuries were controlled miraculously. Leading to saving of millions of lives. So much so that, dying off an infectious disease became something of an aberration. This feat was achieved through antibiotics. From the humble Penicillin, antibiotics have helped humans achieve longevity, prosperity and happiness. Unfortunately, this is now severely threatened by the rising spectra of Antibiotic resistance. The gross misuse of antibiotics has now led to rising infections which are practically untreatable. Diseases which were considered vanquished and termed as innocuous just 20 years ago have now returned with vengeance. While technology has made rapid strides in other areas the search for newer and more effective antibiotics has not yielded much. Our workhorses have been flogged so much that they are now no longer effective. Unless the economy of use, moderation and scientific basis are adhered to, in the coming decade we might fall back to the levels of 19th century in infection control. Again, like climate change, this challenge needs cooperation on a global scale.

Economic turmoil. The last decade has thrown up unique economic challenges. The decade itself started with a recession of developed economies. The years that followed did lead to recovery. But it was a jobless recovery. It did not benefit the vast majority of humanity. Like a Marxian horror come true. The ivory towers of capitalists blossomed. Yet the prosperity has not percolated down to the hoi polloi. This has increased the disparity among the rich and the poor. This decade has seen the increase in numbers of billionaires in countries such as India and China. But the humungous number of people living on less than a dollar a day continues to rise faster. This is concerning the economy being driven now by technology giants. These employ fewer and fewer people. Of the five richest people on earth, three are owners of technology giants. Simultaneously, the agricultural sector globally has been in a severe recession for almost a decade now. This is leading to runaway high food prices, inflation and disaster for several small countries. The solution to this problem requires the best brains on this planet. But more importantly, it requires a humane approach from world leaders. They need to look beyond parochial state interests. Linked with this is the issue of immigration, protectionism and brain drain. Again, we need global cooperation and empathy rather than battle cries.

The retreat of Democracy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it seemed that the world was now firmly on the path of democracy and peace. In one go, dozens of countries across the globe made their first steps towards democracy. The hopes of the masses rose. And we as teenagers also dreamed of living in a peaceful world as adults. That dream has been shattered. This is a contentious and multifactorial issue. This decade has seen unprecedented levels of turmoil. From the Middle East to South America to Hong Kong. The clampdown on democratic movements has been ferocious. The levels of this clampdown have not been seen since the worst days of Stalin. In part, this is an institutional failure of democracies. Paradoxically, the large democracies have not been able to do justice for the vast majority of their people. On the other hand, the people living under oppressive regimes have turned to radicalization and disruption. The rise of ISIS, oppression of minorities across the globe and trampling of civil rights of large segments of people even in so-called western democracies have all contributed to global unrest. This is was reflected in the Arab Spring, Occupy movement and the current Hong Kong protests. Yet, the despots and authoritarian regimes have hit back with ever more viciousness. This again is an issue which requires empathy and soul searching from all the world leaders. Unless this trend of the retreat of democracy is reversed the forthcoming decade and the following years are doomed.

Phew!

Like any teenager, the previous decade has been turbulent and has exasperated the world. We can only hope that with the coming the fabled 2020, which is apocryphal for various reasons, starts behaving not like a teenager but a mature person! But for that to happen requires a humanitarian approach from all of us and the leaders we choose.





Comments

Supriti said…
Phew.. this was the most knowledgable read in this entire BlogHop... I do agree that we never thought that we would live to see the melting of polar ice but here we are witnessing it all.. I do agree with all the aspects of climate, economy and technology.. but i beg to differ about the inflation.. it is one thing amidst the entire gamut of problems that seems to be hitting the lows in the last 5 years.. u r so right in saying that more jobs, better upliftment of agricultural sector and humanity is required to make this world a better place to live in. Thank u so so much for writing this informative piece.. i totally loved reading it. :)
Disha said…
The teen years are troublesome as we are in phase of exploring things. But, this decade should be all about maturity. Talking about environment, climate change and job opportunities is a right start to it.
Pavi Raman said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pavi Raman said…
A wise man in a movie, once said, "All is well."
He was an idiot and pun absolutely intended.

I agree with so much of what you have to say. Climate change, the technology overload, war and strife, the agendas threatening to topple not just India, but so many democracies across the globe.

All is not well. Far from it actually. And like you, I worry about the legacy we're leaving our children. And even our own eighty year old selves.

This was a sobering read, and I'm glad you wrote it!
Surbhi prapanna said…
Wow..I really impressed with the fact that you had covered the various changes in different aspect of life during last decade. I really like the use of term "Teenager" and I agree with it..yes, there are so many disturbing things like climate change, antibiotic Resistance etc..that make us think like that way. hope new decade will bring a new hope and we will have a better world to live.
hema said…
well summarized decade. Change is the constant thing in every sphere of life. However, sometimes, the change is not good and it leads to more problems. Thoughtful post dear.
You have analysed major world events in such lucidity and detail. Well done, I hope the next decade gives you more fodder for more such analysis posts.
ED said…
Wow!
Hope your valuable points reach people.
Very well penned.
Surabhi B.Das said…
Changing is the constant everywhere nowadays but some time chang is must need and every changing have the both side positive and negative. so I agree with your mentioned points of
climate-changing but we never notice the beauty of nature because we were always too busy trying to recreate it.
Harjeet Kaur said…
AQ very comprehensive round-up of the "teenage" decade. Generations after us are going to go oooh and aaah over the discovery of the mobile like we do about the invention of fire, the wheel or the printing press.
Indian govt refuses to acknowledge the recession.
Climate change is a result of all the technological advances and the don't care attitude of us all.
I have been taking anti-biotics for many days but no respite form this cough.
Where are we headed? What are we leaving for our kids are questions which plague my mind after reading your write-up.
Monika said…
You have well analyzed the teenage decade . Economy crisis , technology advances , environment problems and what not -- something good and some problems . Hope the next decade brings more of good things .
Anonymous said…
A sensible and sensitive post on the major changes that have affected the world in the past decade.
From climate to economy to democracy, we seem to be heading south.
Like you rightly mentioned, the first step to a positive change is a humanitarian approach, that seems to be currently lacking.

I hope this decade helps us restore back humanity and world peace. The rest will take care of itself.

Pri said…
A sensible and sensitive post on the major changes that have affected the world in the past decade.
From climate to economy to democracy, we seem to be heading south.
Like you rightly mentioned, the first step to a positive change is a humanitarian approach, that seems to be currently lacking.

I hope this decade helps us restore back humanity and world peace. The rest will take care of itself.

Pri said…
A sensible and sensitive post on the major changes that have affected the world in the past decade.
From climate to economy to democracy, we seem to be heading south.
Like you rightly mentioned, the first step to a positive change is a humanitarian approach, that seems to be currently lacking.

I hope this decade helps us restore back humanity and world peace. The rest will take care of itself.

Pri said…
Oops! My comment has appeared in triplets, with the first one as 'Anonymous' .
Apologies for the confusion. Maybe blogger just wanted to re-emphasize my point (thrice)!! 😁
Geethica said…
I agree with you that before we were only talking about the greenhouse effect and pollution mask but the last decade gone, we have already witnessed it.
You have written a detailed and realistic post.
Meena Chatty said…
Such a comprehensive post about all the world events. Hope the coming times will bring some positive changes to the world we live in. We have a long way to go. Now, we are in the course of taking 4 steps back for every 2 steps forward!

Meena from balconysunrise.wordpress.com
you have summarized the major global events in the last decade in the most fun way by writing it as a analogy with a teenager.
-Ujjwal Mishra (https://mywordsmywisdomblog.wordpress.com)
Shivani said…
Your post reminded me of a favorite weekly program of my childhood- The world this week. Except that yours was the world last decade. Such a comprehensive post and something that should force us to introspect. What are we leaving for our kids? I noticed and especially appreciated that you mentioned antibiotic resistance, a pet peeve of mine.
Great post
Anupriya said…
This post made me look beyond the turmoils of my own life and give a glance to the larger picture. To the world where my kids are growing and who will face the consequences of all these issues. A very grounded and thoughtful post.
Anjali Naik said…
You have wonderfully compared the previous decade to a teenager and well supported with examples also. It is really thought provoking. It is indeed an eye opener. We often try to unsee these serious issues and happily portray that nothing is wrong ! But your post made me pause and reflect on these dreadful changes !!
suhavijay said…
Wow, you covered all the turbulences in the last decade to the point. Seriously, I never got the idea to look beyond my life like this for this bloghop. Good Job
Sonia Dogra said…
Splendidly written! So well encapsulated, so lucid, so clear. I agree with your analysis of the past decade completely. But most of all I loved the title of the post. What a wonderful way of comparing the decade to a teenager dealing with changes. Kudos!
Shail Thosani said…
This was the longest yet the most knowledge filled post. Climate change is something which we have experienced a lot in these teen years of the decade snowfall in regions that had never seen cold and the never ending rainfall that Mumbai witnessed. Global warming is affecting us faster than anticipated. Technology has indeed widened its range and now we cannot even imagine our lives before it was born. All topics have been covered with such apt research.
Srivalli Rekha said…
Wow! You've presented it so well! You've compared the decade with a teenager and showed the reasons in lucid paragraphs while sharing valuable information. We've been talking about antibiotic resistance for a while (dad is not in favor of too much medication) and this post resonates with it. Best wishes for the decade. :) Let's hope our teenage century starts acting matured.
Novemberschild (Romila) said…
That was a wow post!
I am bothered about climate change and glad your post had a mention about it.
Wonderfully happy to read such an interesting insight post.
Pr@Gun said…
Wow-what a knowledgable post, it's not that we are not aware of these global, climatic, political and economic changes, but reading in a way you mentioned was good to read. This teen decade has really transformed us in many ways be it technology or nature somewhere we have upgraded and the other way we have downgraded. We went so far and now we are trying to come back with yoga, Ayurveda, plastic-free, organic, hope the coming decade brings more peace and harmony in the world. An eye-opener post.
Shashank said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swarnali Nath said…
Your post was like a glimpse of the last decade in a minute. The changes you have described here, all are so relevant. The education turmoil touched a cord. You have written with so much clarity, yet so vast details. Great post, best wishes.
Shashank said…
Yes i agree with others about their views for the post. The decade gone is just the beginning of new era of advancements. We can say it was trailer. The real picture is yet to come. I wud have loved if author wud have covered all those things which couldn't be completed in that decade but wud happen this decade for sure and how is it going to affect our lives.
arushiseth said…
Wow! What a well researched and well written post. I loved it how you have called the last decade a teenager and it was undoubtedly troublesome. Climate change, economic slowdown, war etc have made the times tougher. What is gone is gone but what we need to do is realise what’s wrong and take timely action. Climate change is really affecting us and if we don’t act now it might be too late. I must say that though all posts in this hop, you have written the list intelligent one so far!! Wishing you a great decade ahead!!
Very well put. And the fact that you have been able to categorise on the three most pressing problems show that you have thought about the decade very deeply. Very impressive.
Janaki (@beyond the familiar)
That was the most informative post on this blog hop! Like you said we never thought we would see effects of climate change. All I had heard of talked about the most is ozone layer depletion and that was it. I liked how you compared the decade to a teenager and validated it. Hope the twenties result in even headed progress in all the fields so that we are settled by the thirties.
Deepika said…
Wow , this certainly and most singularly was the most extensive and informative post.you rightly said these were like the teenage years tumultuous and restless. You reminded us rightly of the pressing issues, climate change, abuse of antibiotics, economy and so many more. Kudos to you for such a comprehensive and we'll informed post.
Much love
Deepika
Aspiring Hope said…
Wow! This post is really an informative post. It is a reality and we witnessed it all, climate change is the biggest concern for me because now we are facing a hike in temperatures on both sides. Both the highest and the lowest temperature are breaking its previous record year by year. Same with the economy. I am glad you wrote about it and raised some valid points. Well researched post. Kudos!

Deepika Mishra
sivaranjini said…
You spoke about economy to climate change it is a post so informative and thinkable at the same time 😊✨️
Prerna Wahi said…
I loved the broader perspective and global outlook of your post where most of us are sharing our personal journeys or insights on India. Very comprehensive and interesting read!
Unknown said…
Wow!!What a well researched post on the global changes in the decade..And the way you compared the changing times with the life of a teenager was spot on..Very interesting post.. Best wishes..(Pashmeena)
sonam said…
As people have mentioned - this is one of the most informative posts! Agree with most of your points, esp on climate change!
I like how you've compared it to teenage behaviour!
Cucco said…
This was a balanced analysis of the last twenty years, and true we do not know where we are headed. The effects of world wars are long forgotten and there is a climate of fear, in addition to the climate change and the technological leap in form of mini robots we handle aka smart phones. Let's hope all ends well.

Ruchi ( https://thevagabond.me )
Unknown said…
Well analyzed detail studied post on all over change in environment over the past decade apart of only self change. Loved the way you synopsized all the changes during a decade gone by, right from the teenage to technology, from economy to democracy change and so on. Must appreciate your efforts who have put in recalling all the fact change in one place.

Archana
http://archusblog.com
Vidhya Thakkar said…
woow an informative article!
Piyusha Vir said…
This was such a wonderful analysis of what the past years were like. Certainly a thought-provoking read. Hope you continue giving us more such analytical reality checks to keep us all in line and reminded of our responsibilities.
You portrayed the decade from multiple points of view. I could see an influence of diversity in your post which is essential today. Lovely read.
-- rightpurchasing
Unknown said…
Manisha - You have shared the decade gone by from a different perspective which is important. We must focus on these. Hoping for the best of everything in the next decade.
Ritu said…
Quite an informative post. You have analyzed the decade really well. I completely agree with you on antibiotic resistance. People do not realise how detrimental self medication and popping an antibiotic for minor ailments is.
Pragnya said…
Don't we all have a sob story reflecting our life in past years? Reading a comprehensive bigger picture of trobles around the globe that do have an impact on every being's life is an eye-opener. Though we know it as different clusters, a summary gives a good impact on readers. It is commendable how you took multiple topics under one umbrella with clarity and crispness.

~ Pragnya (www.lifewithmypenguin.com)
piya said…
What a wholesome post. The research, as well as the presentation and the points which you included, are commendable. The analogy between the decade and teenager is brought forward so effortlessly. Best Wishes!
A thoughtful, detailed and informative post. We are all moving towards a shrinking world. Don't know what legacy we are leaving behind for our next gen.
maheshsowani said…
Climate change, anti-biotic resistance these are crying concerns. But no government is willing to deal with it. Thank you for stressing its importance.
You have discussed some major issues of last decade, were unaware of some as i dont watch TV, interesting read and an informative post indeed.
A Lady Lawyer said…
Wow, just wow! You deserve a huge round of applause for this post. There have been many globally disturbing events in the past decade but I believe your 4 large pointers, cover them all. I am very impressed with your in-depth research, balanced reporting and well-reasoned arguments. I too hope that the 2020s bring with them a modicum of maturity.
Noor Anand Chawla
Maya Bhat said…
So you must be the youngest one here. You have analyzed the decade so deeply and given me a lot of things to ponder upon. Great job
Your detailed analysis and neat recap have certainly put me in an introspective mode. Fingers crossed for new decade that is better than the one past. Excellent post. Rohit.
Mayuri/Sirimiri
Priyal Poddar said…
You have covered all the topics of the last decade especially the climate changes which we all-are seeing. Hope to see a good decade in coming days
Shalini said…
What a well-researched post! Kudos to your effort! I also loved your writing style and language. There should be more bloggers like you :)
Why have I never come across your blog before? This was the constant thought ringing inside me as I read your post.
I dont think anyone could have done a better job of rounding up the things of the past Teenager Decade as you have.
Ur writing style is flawless and the transition of thoughts is so smooth. I am really in awe of the article you have written. It was such a pleasure to read it.
Thank you for writing such a great post

#readbypreetispanorama
pallavi_13 said…
Phew!!!!I likes the way you have started your blog and described all the things that really anyone can corelate ..after reading we can think oh!!yes it's also there..you have touched many aspects..decade thru your blog or thru your eyes looks wonderful.A very knowledgeable and interesting facts are described and I think in this whole blog hop it's one of the best write-ups.
pallavi_13 said…
Phew!!!!I likes the way you have started your blog and described all the things that really anyone can corelate ..after reading we can think oh!!yes it's also there..you have touched many aspects..decade thru your blog or thru your eyes looks wonderful.A very knowledgeable and interesting facts are described and I think in this whole blog hop it's one of the best write-ups.
pallavi_13 said…
Phew!!!!I like the way you have started your blog and described all the things that really anyone can corelate ..after reading we can think oh!!yes it's also there..you have touched many aspects..decade thru your blog or thru your eyes looks wonderful.knowledgeable and interesting facts are described and I think in this whole blog hop it's one of the best write-ups.
Varsh said…
I loved the way you put it, like any teenager this decade has behaved unpredictably.
Your post is quite detailed and has covered many crucial topics. Hoping that the next decade will have a little more maturity settling in!
Srishti Rajeev said…
Teenage decade on point. The multi-faceted post you've written has improved my knowledge a lot... if not by leaps and bounds. All that you mentioned here is something we have to closely look at and analyse. Thinking of teenagers, this decade surely made our post 50 generation learn to pout and take selfies
Neha Sharma said…
Wow, this was a very well written article, I am impressed by your way of writing and sharing details about the various events. Also, liked how you used the term teenager to describe the state of the last decade. I really hope this teenager grows up and get mature as you have mentioned in the end. Keep writing!
Meera said…
OMG, this is a much required one.
And you have put the entire world in this pocket called, blog. I like the way you brought in introduction and then pinning with the climate changes and finally with the current happening, democracy.


I look forward to reading more from you.

Jyoti said…
Beautifully expressed decade with all the information. Change is the constant thing in every sphere of life.loved the way you portrayed the post with the teenager thoughts.
Jyoti Arora (www.heartspeaksbyjd.wordpress.com)
Shipra Trivedi said…
Rightly put. Most of us focused on personal changes happened on our lives during the last decade but this post is about the world. How things are changing, how atmosphere is getting damaged, how people are getting more in-human and how economy is trembling. I feel we all should keep an eye on these. At the end of the day, they all matter for our own well being.
A concerned human and a concerned citizen, is what I gather you are from your write up. I absolutely empathise with you in your quest to spread awareness on the above raised topics as my blog was also pertaining a similar theme. Keep writing.
Lavanya said…
Climate change is happenibg right now and we still have doubters and naysayers. loved your word play on teenage the the twenty firat century.
Rashi Roy said…
Kudos for writing such a well-researched post. You have touched all the major points and have presented them so well. Happy to have you on board :)