`People want a quick fix'

AN INCREASING reliance on drugs, liberation from mass merchandising and techno-paranoia are some of the trends predicted for the coming year by an advertising executive.

Futurologist Marian Salzman, a director in the worldwide advertising agency Young and Rubicam, highlights several trends for the year ahead in a book to be published this week called Next: A Vision of Our Lives in the Future.

In education she predicts greater parental involvement. In America, for example, up to 1.6 million children are now being schooled at home. "The push to prepare our children for the new millennium results in a surge in everything from home schooling to educational software and private tutors," she says.

Self reliance will continue after school. She says the decline of the welfare state and job security will encourage self help and entrepreneurship.

She predicts people will become more sceptical about the mass of information they receive via new technology.

And while mass merchandising will have its place, the drift is towards personalised products - from do-it-yourself beauty treatments to herbal remedies and home DIY.

Ms Salzman predicts that the moral high ground will become the new source of conflict. Witness, she says, the murder of abortion providers in the US and the more extreme acts of animal liberation activists."We'll see extremists wrest control of issues from those who would tend toward compromise and moderation."

And if the pre-millennial tension becomes too much, then consumers will turn to pills. "Whether it's Viagra, Prozac or miracle diet drugs, it's all part of our growing intolerance for anything but the quickest of fixes," she says.