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Predictions for 2011

I apparently skipped 2010 - and most of my 2009 predictions ran over into 2010 - like we lost a year!

So here are my predictions for 2011. They aren't pretty.

* Economy - There are now two economies: Wall Street and Main Street. Wall Street will be living high, assured that their allies in Congress will bail out their losses, so that greater risks can be taken, for greater gain. Main Street will struggle for credit to start small businesses, buy inventory, or hire people. The payday loan and pawn shop business will be going great guns, as people sell off more of their life as their unemployment runs out. Pay your essential bills first, then pay for luxuries with cash. Frugality is still in, even if you have work - the rough economy isn't over.

* Jobs - Another "jobless recovery" stares us in the face. Job growth in all but the narrow high tech sector will be moribund, and what there is will be in low wage, no benefits, service sector jobs - stuff they can't physically ship overseas. The bigwigs in Washington will say "the recession is over", the people will laugh bitterly at their reduced paycheck, increased expenses, and decreased hope.

* High tech - High is the exception to the grim outlook, but only because the rich still want their gadgets, and shopping online is cheaper than going to the store. Also, the offshoring mavens are slowly starting to realize that some things really are culturally sensitive, and can't be done in Bangalore for the US market, or in the China for the Bangalore market. Global companies with global markets will still hire globally, but with a better regional focus.

* Environment - Ugly. Global warming deniers will get another year of "in your face" climate change and solid evidence. To bad most of them are too thick to see what is in front of them. Not a big earthquake year, but nasty on the hurricanes and typhoons. Watch for the incredibly shrinking island videos. More intense seasonal changes, and unseasonal events are in the wings.

* Politics - Nasty. The GOP and Tea Baggers, trying to make common cause, will make George Bush seem like a constitutional scholar. The Democrats, led by the Blue Dogs, will just roll over and play dead, except for a few with principles. None will be enough to stem the tide of corporatist money, which really runs the show now. Kiss your rights and the safety net goodbye. If you are close to retirement, stock up on dog food and tarps.

* International - Tangled. North Korea may realize that it has bitten off more than it can chew, and will seek peace but try to save face. South Korea will let them squirm. Stalemate. Iran still has internal troubles, aggrevated by bringing in outsiders to maintain control. Power struggles at the top will continue, but it will stay a nasty place for at least another year, just continue to wobble more. We, for our part, will struggle to get out of the military disasters that our previous president got us into.

* Energy - Costly. Ever hear of "peak oil"? I think we're getting there. Gas will be $4 a gallon by year end. The GOP will make sure, and it will be $5 by the 2012 election, to assure the Democrats' defeat. Yes, they manipulate it. I've watched it happen for years, like clockwork. Problem is, fuel oil and natural gas will go up too, especially as winters are more severe.

* Space - Nasa is nearly forgotten as our budget woes and decades of tinkle down economics wreak their havoc on us. Our safety valve is stuck shut.

* Banks and credit cards - The big banks will get bigger, merge, and screw you with new fees despite the new laws. Interest rates on credit cards will go up, if you can get them or keep them. Don't go looking for new loans - the terms will suck. Pay things down if you can, don't borrow from the big boys. Credit unions are a better bet, if you have to borrow at all.

* Culture - There are at least two, maybe three main cultures now - conservative libertarian objectivist lock-step land, liberal ivory tower hand wringers, and desperate fatalistic realists. The first two already inhabit very different realities, and soon the third will split off when it realizes that the ones it thought knew reality didn't really. Hint: the third does not watch Fox News, and watches/reads even the supposed "liberal" media with a jaundiced eye, and distrusts all media as "propaganda". The third group is the one that will change things, because they will be the ones with nothing left to lose, no investment in the status quo. Maybe not this year, but before 2020.

* Terror - Bin Laden will be declared dead. The "War on (foreign) Terror" will continue to be used as an excuse for totalitarian methods around the world. The biggest terrorist acts in the US will be from home-grown, non-Muslim, right-wing radicals, and will be virtually ignored or downplayed by the corporate media as "lone wolf acts". Those who do investigate will find that some elected government officials are involved, but they will be shouted down as "conspiracy theorists" or "engaging in character assassination".

* Gay Rights - DADT has been repealed, and the reich wing can't put the genie back in the bottle. But they'll try. The gay marriage issue will slowly, steadily make progress in the states, but it will have to fly under the radar to be successful. The California Prop 8 ruling will stand, amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the people who want to legislate special rights for straights.

* Bullying - Slowly, this will become more of an issue, but real progress is a long way off. But awareness will increase.

* Fashion - Ewww. More ewww, awful "colors" pushed as fashionable, more horrible layers on guys and gals with the lower layers sticking out sloppily. The grunge look will fade out somewhat, but be replaced by haute coteure wannabes - think cheap fabric, cheap construction made to look expensive. Think rich-girl posers and biff-tad pretenders.

* Publishing - Rumbling and crumbling. The dinosaurs will hold on to their ways with an iron grip, filing lawsuits and patents as the world changes around them. This field starts and ends 2011 shaking itself out.

* Health Care - The Health Insurers will find every loophole they can in the new healthcare laws, and file suit or bribelobby Congress to overturn what they can't evade by loophole. Costs will keep going up, benefits will keep dropping, the health insurer "death panels" will keep deciding your fate, and the GOP will call it good. The cynical will buy stock in Health Insurance companies.

* New and Wonderful - Not from external sources. For this, you need to look inside, and find your own determination. Weaning yourself from external "pushes" on your decisions will give you more peace of mind in this rough time. The less you depend on someone else's agenda and worldview, the happier you will be. If you start a new venture, make it something real and local, that improves the world around you, even if it just makes people smile or connect with each other.

Taking control of your own bills, bringing down your debt, controlling your own diet, making your own choices for your own reasons is best now. Take anything, and everything, that someone else tells you (especially any "media" sources) with a large grain of salt - even this (it's a blog, after all.) Find your center, and your anchor to reality, then use it to sort through the crap being flung around you.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 4th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
I'm going to slightly disagree with you.

I think that high tech, as a whole, will grow... but I also think that the U.S. won't necessarily be where it grows.

Remember that many high-tech jobs can be done anywhere in the world -- especially if the job can be done over the Internet.

High tech grows where the best education is... and though the U.S. is doing well with higher education, it's not the only one.
Jan. 4th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
My predictions aren't really for China or India, but for the American market.

China and India will outpace the US high tech market, because they don't have the GOP and Reaganomics sabotaging their infrastructure and education. But unless you like the idea of moving to Bangalore, or working for Bangalore wages and benefits while trying to live here, I wouldn't say that it's a good thing.
Jan. 5th, 2011 04:15 am (UTC)
I sadly concur with most of your predictions. I look at global warming with mingled feelings though. Since the alternative is glaciation - as the overdue next ice age begins and this interstadial ends - and said glaciation would result in the planet being unable to sustain more than 1 billion humans [assuming that warfare does not further drop the population/harm the environment] - global warming and more active weather systems look attractive in comparison.
Jan. 5th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, I wonder if we won't end up with one flipping to the other...
Jan. 5th, 2011 07:20 am (UTC)
As I understand it, we will. Something about the polar icecaps melting away changing the albedo or the temp of the oceans, and I know the ocean currents are changing; the Gulf Stream is about done for, which is going to make both Iceland and the UK a lot colder. Also the planet is shifting its poles, I hear, and that will make some current farming areas dramatically colder very suddenly.

Sorry to add to the gloom, hopefully I heard/understood some of it wrong.

Jan. 5th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)

I think this is an incredibly optimistic forecast, TBH. Sad, isn't it?
Jan. 5th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
I did try to look on the bright side. Really, in some ways this year will be better than 2010. In other ways it will suck harder.
Jan. 5th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)

The older I get, the more pessimistic I become. :p
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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