Certainly we will — in the consumer goods value terms in which we presently measure it. How? Over-population? Shortage of resources? Pollution? Global over-heating? Societal breakdown? Nuclear/cyber warfare? Virus epidemic? None of these, probably. The answer is much more prosaic.
These days, your average urban man, wife and family in the advanced countries now has all those possessions and services which, until 1780 — when the indiustrial revolution took off with a whoosh! — only the rich aristocratic land-owners possessed which, in this country comprised only about 200 families who owned half of the productive land (the Church owning most of the rest), about a dozen families in Poland, and in France and Germany it was probably somewhere in between.
We are talking of plenty of clothes, warm housing, a swift mode of conveyance, medical care, advanced education for their children, plenty of other services, a regular variety of entertainment, opportunity to travel — all items which were totally unknown to the mass of the population, when the way of life of the aristocrats was unimaginatively different from your average town artisan, countryside peasant or tenant farmer.
The very rich these days may have better quality versions of all of the above items, and they will pay a great deal more for them. And they’ll pay even more again — one might say absurdly more — for certain sorts of very high status goods such as diamonds, paintings, sculptures, sleek cars, ocean-going yachts, large countryside mansions or sandy private beaches — all crazily-priced and seldom used or publicly exhibited — owned not so much to show how much more superior they are to the hoi polloi but in order to play status games between themselves.
And, if we’re talking of consumer (status) goods there aren’t any more new ones! There are no more in the R&D departments of the multinationals. There’ll be a plethora of innovations but these will be in production goods or scientific equipment, not consumer goods. This applies whether we are very rich or even (often in the advanced countries) quite poor. And, for those who have jobs and are raising families — whether rich or poor — there is scarcely any spare time or energy (or hitherto unused perceptual organs in our bodies) for any more to be enjoyed in the daily schedule or in annual peregrinations even if they existed. All the ‘new’ goods that we have had in the last 40 years or so, such as smart phones, are improvements to the stock items that existed before (and they — once again — were only the modern equivalents of what royalty and aristocracy used to enjoy for thousands of years).
So that’s where about a dozen countries in the world are at at present. Except for the very small number of the very rich in the other 180 other countries there’s no opportunity for their populations to share our desirable way of life unless they manage to develop leading-edge scientific research centres and devise brand new consumer goods or services that are hitherto unknown to the Lucky Dozen. Until they do they’ll be unable to enter the small ring of countries which exchange most of the high value goods in world trade.
The inhabitants of the dozen countries — rich or average — are largely content with what they have by way of consumer goods (although the very rich are always searching for more exotic sorts of status goods to impress their competitors!). What both the rich and the poor in the advanced countries want now — both of them — are vastly superior health and educational technologies, but those will depend on very highly educated individuals in a future economic system that will operate by means of fee gradations, not levels of profit as now empowers our present capitalist system.
But that’s going to be an entirely different story . . .