The Future of American Men

Whether a Young Carefree or an Above Average Joe, the life and role of the American male in the 21st century is being redefined.

Social Technologies sketches out 5 American Male personas that also include the Good Ol’ Boys, Mac Daddies, and Worry Warriors--each with a different take on where they feel they are in life and where they may be headed.

What are guys’ lives like today? What is important to them and how can we better relate to them? That was what Spike TV asked the Washington DC-based futurist research and consulting firm Social Technologies to help the network find out.

As the home of everything "men," Spike TV commissioned the study to gain a deeper understanding of the many facets of men, according to Kimberly Maxwell, senior director of brand and consumer research. "We wanted to check the pulse of American guys to be better able to understand their lifestyles, their daily habits, and values," she says, noting that the research builds upon Spike’s 2004 "Guy's State of the Union," which delivered a wide-ranging overview of guy's lives.

Social Technologies analyzed the segmentation data to create descriptions and composite personas, used by Spike to better understand different types of men and how their lifestyle and consumer habits may change in the near future. So what are these five types of American guys?

[PHOTO: Matt Andrews]

Food for Oil

Consultants like to tell their audience, "In Chinese, the character for crisis is the same as opportunity."

In the English dictionary, however, crisis is defined as "a point in a story or drama when a conflict reaches its highest tension and must be resolved."

While the Developed World frets over the current multi-nodal RealEstateSubPrimeFinancialMarketTradeDeficit crisis--which continues to suck the value out of most of America's larger financial assets--the rest of the developing world is again struggling to afford the basics, namely, food.

In this case, the Cyrilla [oil supply] and Charybdis [demand for crops] have the same source: the global race for energy.

Time's recent article, titled The Clean Energy Scam, desn't throw a monkey wrench into the machine behind biofuels as much as it points a finger at the rising world food costs and slash-n-burn behavior it has inspired in the Amazon.

A rebuttal from 25x25, a non-profit supported financially by the Energy Future Coalition, laments, "Unfortunately, the story's message of concern is undermined by misinformation about biofuels and an over-simplified analysis of complex systems."

The main law of complex systems remains: Small changes can have large, unpredictable effects.

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Food riots which have struck several impoverished countries could spread with shortages and high prices set to continue for some time, the head of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.


A combination of high oil and fuel prices, rising demand for food in a wealthier Asia, the use of farmland and crops for biofuels, bad weather and speculation on futures markets have pushed up food prices, prompting violent protests in a handful of poor states.

Jacques Diouf, director general of the Rome-based FAO, said on Wednesday during a trip to India that there was a growing risk of social instability in countries where families spent more than half their income on food.

"This is due to higher demand from countries like India, China, where GDP grows at 8-10 percent and the increase in income is going to food," Diouf said after meeting India's farm minister, Sharad Pawar.

Unplanned Obsolescence

Grameen's famous Village Phone Program lifted thousands out of poverty-- and helped Muhammad Yunus win the Nobel Peace Prize. The problem: It's not working anymore.
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On March 26, 1997--chosen because that day was the anniversary of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan--Begum became the first participant in GrameenPhone's Village Phone Program. Now widely known, the plan offers small loans, or microcredit, that enable people in one of the world's most impoverished countries to buy cell phones and rent them, call by call, to neighbors who can't afford telephones of their own.
A decade later, instead of begging on the streets and sleeping with cattle as she once had done, Begum shares a two-room brick house with her husband, two sons, a daughter, a television set, and a refrigerator. Next door, she has built a barn, shops, and temporary housing that she rents to five poor families. Today, her banker estimates her net worth at $145,000, which may be more than everyone else in her village combined.
In Bangladesh today, the only one making real money on GrameenPhone's wireless service is … GrameenPhone.

Food vs. Service: Shift Labor Forces

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For the first time in human history, more people are laboring in service trades than in food production, according to data gathered by the International Labor Organization (ILO), an agency affiliated with the United Nations.

As recently as 1996, agriculture accounted for 42 percent of world employment, with another 21 percent of workers in goods-producing industries and 37 percent in services. By last year, the ILO says in a report released over the weekend, 42 percent were in services, 37 percent in agriculture, and 22 percent in industry.

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