Image by kevindooley via Flickr
Every year around this time folks all over the world are gobbling up predictions like they were funnel cake at the county fair. I usually stay away from that sort of thing but this year have been been convinced by a few readers to publish what I think is going to happen next year.
Having little experience in this stuff, I immediately went to my long-ago packed-away crystal ball (left over from a divorce from a woman who simply KNEW she was a witch. She wasn’t, which is the reason I guess, that the crystal ball is still with me.)
Seriously, she was not a witch.
Upper right you’ll see a picture of my crystal ball (the way it would look to me if I really had one). Just a glance will give you about as much information as a careful study of the thing. Bleh – so much for crystal balls. (Maybe a real witch would have left me with a crystal ball that worked?)
So, having looked into tea leaves, coffee grounds, walked hallowed grounds, thrown bones and sticks and then listening to some Styx, I decided to try my hand at simple precognition. Into the trance I go:
Obama’s stimulus package is just more of the same. It will be cheered on, all around the world as we all hopelessly cry out for a savior from our own self induced economic crisis. Like a street addict we beg for more, we promise to do better, and when we get our hands on the fix, we inject the needle deeply. It doesn’t cure us, but it does let us believe that things are better now, and the worst has passed.
Except it hasn’t passed. After the nice Obama bump in the 1st quarter, rumblings are felt again in the financial sectors as credit card and auto loan debt begins to falter. It seems that folks have been using those plastic things to pay for their mortgages, as well as their food. The recent flood of Christmas shopping is revealed to have all been done on credit, and after April or May, with credit cards maxed out, folks have to decide whether to default on their homes, their cars, their groceries or their cards. The cards will be the first to go, followed by the cars and some groceries.
About the same time, the mortgage industry will begin to show new signs of weakness. There will be more to worry about than just the default rates on prime and jumbo-primes. Commercial real estate will falter and in some places simply fail altogether. Construction will, for all intents and purposes, dry up and blow away across most of the nation.
In the midst of all this springtime rain comes a drought of promises from the government. We will be told that the stimulus is indeed working for millions of Americans. We will all wonder who those millions are, and where they live – ’cause they sure as hell don’t live near us. More empty cash will be poured out upon us, and it will disappear like Gandalf into a fiery pit. (But like Gandalf, it will be back later in the story.)
The CERN LHC will go online as scheduled. This time everything works exactly as they expected, and the experiments are begun. The whole world watches, half-expecting to suddenly find themselves being eaten by a growing black hole. The math works, however, and the 1st results from the LHC prove that Hawking radiation indeed does exist. The black holes are being formed and dissipating at a rate of about 10,000 each minute, none of them growing to any dangerous size.
The world cheers. Hawking releases a statement warning of cumulative effects of quantum gravity on celestial objects.
Some people scratch their craniums and wonder what he means.
War Of Agreement
Behind the scenes, the world’s first ‘war of agreement’ will be planned, as an extreme option. The war of agreement will be between two nations with a long history of flagrant opposition, but will actually be an attempt to stimulate each of the two nations’ economies.
While the leaders of each nation say they hope they never have to use this option, secretly they plan to anyway in most of their future scenarios. The plan may grow to include more than just the original countries, and in fact become the world’s 1st scheduled global war.
We will be told that the government will do ‘whatever it takes’ to keep us in jobs, to keep ‘main street’ moving. We will continue to see the very ones who created this mess profit from it at our expense, just like in 2008.
By mid-year, there will have been at least one violent incident that gets national attention, perhaps the burning of a prominent banker’s private residence. Sometime by mid-July, the National Guard will be called out in at least one state, or in the district itself, due to riots or demonstrations.
Unemployment will reach a very real rate of around 30%. The government will report it to be much lower, perhaps as high as 13%. This kind of newspeak is going to eventually be the cause of social unrest in the US. Similar events will play out in most European nations.
And even then, we won’t realize what we’re in for.
Trying to pull the nation together (perhaps not missing the point that the Nation Is together, albeit against them) the government will try to focus our anger on those outside America. Similar strategies will be adopted worldwide, as they have historically always been done.
All the while talking about mutual support and cooperation, each nation will be busy behind the scenes, setting up their version of protectionist actions. Without the actions, there is nothing to point at and say to your nation, ‘See! Here we have engaged the culprit!’
As these actions are taken, the War of Agreement will be quietly staged, with heads of state setting up guidelines for profit, strategies for management so that every participating nation should prosper. The goal in this war will not be to conquer, but instead to keep the current economy intact, ie., the current management team in power.
But that war will not come in 2009. It may never happen. But the stage will be set for it, and that will demand that actions be taken to draw the lines, so to speak. Already, there are several countries around the world manipulating their currencies to position themselves.
So the actions will come, the bigger ones sometime in the last half of the year. I do not know what those actions might be. They could come in the form of tariffs, embargoes, piracy – the list could go on forever. Some fool could even order a real military attack.
All In All, And In The End
The horrible year upon us will not destroy us. Many of us will see our lives change in an instant. Some lucky of us will notice very little difference and the gifted will continue being gifted. We will have things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. We will smile at least once on Christmas.
This past year has been incredibly hard for some of us. We’ve lost so much, we feel, and we really don’t understand it all. Here’s a secret: That’s a good way to feel, right about now.
Truth is, we have no idea what the future holds. After all the study, all the reading and discussing, after riding this wave for as long as we have, all we have in the end is our best guess. Our gut feeling.
I am Jon, and what do I know?