Saturday, February 14, 2009

OVERVIEW AT 20th FEBRUARY, 2009: Three-Year Horizon.

Share this ARTICLE with your colleagues on LinkedIn .

Dear Friends:

It has been some time since I have posted. Please accept my humble apologies, and know that I have not abandoned you. My pledge is to provide you with weekly updates commencing immediately. There is a great deal of ground to be covered.

With a new presidential administration in the United States, with the undeniable spectre of a global depression (the dreaded "D"word) looming, and with a rapid shifting in culture, conditions values and priorities, I believe that these next three years are going to be a very, very frightening ride. This historically unprecedented set of circumstances and variables is truly global, and it will change the entire planet, leaving no country or person untouched.

By the way, a friend explained the difference between a recession and a depression to me, in very simple terms: "If you're out of work, it's a recession...If I'm out of work, then it's a depression." A recession that visits you in your own home or at your own place of business is truly a depression. And now (cue drumroll), to the issues:


The science supporting the notion of global warming, and of the ability of humankind to significantly impact the weather are still being debated, but it is becoming less fashionable to talk about "global warming" and more popular to talk about "climate change". Like the idea of Political Correctness, climate change is now unquestionably acknowledged as real, fashionable to worry about, and an issue that warrants international attention from governments, companies and academia. Lots of talk, lots of money. If you want to be popular, 1) use the term, 2) look worried, and 3) always state that it is a "real problem that must be addressed." Then, get back to your real business.


Concerns about the ecology, ecosystems, pollution and destruction of the planet's delicate balance abound, and I believe they are meritorious. Expect both the public and the private sectors to talk about, and act upon various strategies and campaigns to make more products and processes "earth-friendly," "biodegradable," "self-sustaining, "environmentally friendly," "recyclable," "non-polluting," "natural," and conserving of depletable resources. This is a bandwagon that everyone will be on. Green-collar jobs (groundskeeping, hydroponics, solar panel installation) will replace a small percentage of the lost blue-collar jobs, and a great number of ex-convicts, emotionally challenged and economically deprived persons will be encouraged and subsidized by western governments to get training and employment in these new positions. The Green Movement is serious business and is here to stay. Expect favorable government treatment of enterprises which are Green, and punishment of those which are not. Alternative energy technologies will be a significant segment of this movement in terms of activities and dollars, but there will not be any major breakthroughs with respect to complete independence from fossil fuels and Big Oil. On an important note, petro demand will decline in its rate of growth due to 1) a poor international economy, and 2) to an increasing percentage of power to be produced by alternative means (principally solar and electric). Increases in the numbers of operational atomic power plants internationally will not be statistically significant for the following reasons: 1) lowered demand for fossil fuels: 2) an inherent fear of atomics by Green advocates, and 3) the tremendous expense associated with building these plants for a wholesale conversion from oil to isotopes. On a positive note, the Green Movement is very global, and will serve as an international unifier amidst other unresolved differences.


The US economy will continue to ravaged by growing unemployment, diminished productivity, corporate bankruptcies, failing financial institutions and a declining dollar. Expect some small "token" tax incentives to exporters, and employers, but expect hyperinflation and a precipitous decline in the US dollar within the three-year time horizon. The recent US stimulus package is a move in the direction of more bailouts, subsidies, disincentives for production, nationalization of private sector activities, government intervention and regulation, tightened credit and entrepreneurial atrophy. The US Recovery Act was an extravagant gesture which will be as helpful (when viewed in retrospect), as putting a bandage over skin cancer. In the US, expect unemployment rates to rise to over 10% before declining, and expect the evaporation of the entire middle class. Look forward to 1 in 3 persons working for either a governmental agency or for a government-dependent employer. The precious precedent of "Free Enterprise" will yield to something much more akin to socialism, and a virulent resurgence of the dreaded "welfare state."

Expect an increase in cybercrime, identity theft, crimes of violence, drug addiction, poverty and the number of working poor, the suicide rate across generations, the percentage of the population subject to incarceration (a major growth industry in the United States), with the usual finger-pointing, recriminations and coverups. Expect a major healthcare and healthcare insurance crisis in the United States as proper medical care becomes less available and far more costly. There will be a great deal of healthcare reform proposals cycling through the Legislature, and supported by both Republicans and Democrats alike. Otherwise, and on all other fronts, expect the feud between Democratics and Republicans to increase in intensity during the Obama administration.

The world economy will not suffer quite as much or as long as the US domestic economy, but similar adverse changes thoughout the west will tend to mirror those of the US. The European Union (EU) will be strengthening its member cohesiveness, favorably synergized by three factors: 1) the international economy and international trade; 2) the war on terrorism; and 3), the quest for "greener" energy.


Relations between the United States and Afghanistan will continue to worsen, as terrorist and extremist groups increase their training and other activities there. The US will be sending increasing numbers of troops to deter the proliferation of Taliban armament and power, but without any formal declaration of war against a sovereign state. Because of the domestic unemployment situation, many otherwise unemployable youth will seek out careers in the armed forces, filling the perceived demand for an increased presence there.


The relationship between these two countries will continue to decline as Pakistan continues to provide a semi-permeable border for the benefit of Afgan fighters and Taliban troops, and as the US continues to attack terrorist training facilities on the Afgan/Pakistan border, creating increasing collateral casualties for Pakistan. Pakistan has never been an ally of the United States in terms of the war against terrorism due its own population's support of Taliban and anti-American and anti-west activities. Expect an increasing US presence in the region, and a decreasing US military presence in Iraq, which has become an increasingly unpopular an unnecessary deployment of US troops.


Expect a warming of relations between the two countries due to an increasing number of joint projects and business interdependencies between them. This warming will further be fueled by the US' evident distrust of Pakistan, and by the increasing number of emigres from India in positions of high professional ranking and powerful political standing in the United States. With the decline in the value of the US dollar, anticipate more Indian investment in the United States. Other potentially unifying fields between the two nations include technological development, medical cooperation, and a mutual distrust of Pakistan.


With the departure of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice and such some of the large mercenary contractors supported by the former administration having less and less of a free and brutal hand in Iraq and in other high-profile places in the world, you can expect a slight but significant easing of tensions between the Islamic World and the United States. This may mean a slight decrease in terrorist-related incidents which are targeted against the US, and an increasingly open dialogue between the US and many of the Islamic states.

The relationship amongst the constituency of the EU is going to be tightening up, and the political and trade efficiency of the Union will be improving. This will stregthen all of the member countries, and will further support the rise in the exchange value of the Euro. The US will be perceived as a stronger ally of the EU based upon the anticipated statesmanship of the US President and Secretary Of State. While the political environment will warm, trading opportunities will not ripen until after 2012, when there is more stability in the US economy and in the economy of the world at large. While the declining dollar will enhance European tourism in the United States, the Trade and Payment Balances will largely go unaffected due to the US' decline as a manufacturer of finished products. An increasing percentage of publicly-traded companies domiciled in the United states will be owned by European and Asian investors. The implications of this are pro-Internationalist, but also signify the systematic "De-Americanization of the US."

International capital markets will continue to be shaky, and US securities will be propped up to some extent by increased foreign investment in US bargain investments. These bargains will be caused by 1) continued softness in the US capital markets; 2) the rise of the Euro versus the decline of the US dollar, and 3) hyperinflation in the United States toward the end of the forecast period in this article.
An international trend toward precautionary savings and more conservative consumption (and leverage) will take root within the next 18 months amongst the world's citizenry. The principal motivations for this will be 1) fear of further economic instability; 2) curtailment of consumer credit facilities, and 3) the perceived requirement for a "cushion" against unemployment. Investing will be more institutionally-driven, and smaller-ticket "bargain hunting" individual investors will start to re-enter the capital markets in 2010, which will help to re-create some liquidity and price stabilization in the stock market, and in the capital markets in general.

Entrepreneurialism will be on the rise, as conventionally-employed workers, laid-off from their jobs, begin to become involved in home-based and internet-oriented businesses. Necessity and fear will propel this movement forward. Amidst the rash of re-packaging and re-marketing businesses, there will be a stimulus to innovation and invention. Most of these companies will be privately-held by small numbers of stakeholders.

Because of tightened capital market access, progress in AI will be stymied until the end of the forecast period covered by this article.

As in the case of AI, nanotechnology will not be as well-funded as required in order to support significant breakthroughs. Having said this, I would anticipate further development of practical applications for nanotechnology in medicine (cardiology and, to a lesser extent, pharmacology) and manufacturing (US-developed technologies will be licensed and utilized overseas in numerous manufacturing processes).

Major civilian projects in terms of genetic engineering will largely be in a holding pattern until the end of the forecast period covered by this article. However, there will be continued exploration and some advancement in applications of gene mapping and engineering by the large multi-national pharmaceutical companies. Anticipated applications will center around the issues of diabetes, obesity, and aging.

There will continue to be an increasing interest in, and reliance upon, astrology by individuals and businesses. This interest continues unabated by the current economic crisis, and is even fueled by the sense of determinism that invariably emerges in a crisis environment, or after a prolonged period of poverty or loss.
These next few years will be a very interesting and transformative time for the entire species. It will be a time of great re-evaluation, introspection and catharsis, in every sense of this latter term.


globalism, CFR, NGO, UN, WTO, IMF, central bank, outsourcing, offshoring, capital markets, import, export, international trade, strategic alliances, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, social networking, banking, finance, trade, ventures, business, securities, stock exchanges, indexes, futurism, trends, citizen ambassadorship, enterprise, capitalism, international politics, commodities, prime rate, LIBOR, foreign currencies, foreign exchange, blogs, blogging, bloggers, aol, google, yahoo, msn, AP, news, media alerts, world government, world governments, international affairs, treaties, tariffs, trade restrictions, marketing, advertising, business development, arbitrage, obtaining capital, promotion, publicity, EU, NATO, military affairs, government regulation, trade restrictions, liquidity crisis, business opportunities, web-based businesses, communication, communications, technology, intelligence, embassies, consulates, business resources, Douglas Castle,The Internationalist Page, The Global Futurist, international politics, elections, time management, cyberspace, AI, energy, industry, productivity, Mixx, Digg, Technorati, Sphere, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, advertising, economics, strategy, management, cooperation, widgets, blidgets, links, incoterms, CCH, UCC, freight forwarding, custom house brokers, diversity, employment, culture, micro-loans, technological convergence, trends, financial planning, FOREX, futures, stock index, inflation, recession, sub-contracting, Department of Commerce, CIOF, the next generation, amnesty, humanitarianism, foreign aid, philanthropy, charity, LinkedIn, singularity, transportation, IT, intelligence, complexity theory, energy sources, shortages, climatic change, pop-culture, survivalism, mergers and acquisitions...

Blog Archive

Bookmark and Share