Gazing into the Global Future

Jan 24, 2019

Gerald Celente, director of The Trends Research Institute, and publisher of the Trends Journal, has been looking into the future for 25 years. Here’s what he has to say about 2007: “We have never witnessed a balance of diverse forces converging so quickly. From our trend vision perspective, it can be the best of times for those who look ahead…and the worst of times for those trapped in the past and stuck in the present.”

Like it or not, the future is coming. Hopefully, a look at Celente’s forecast will help prepare you for the challenges ahead.

America owned the 20th century, but it won't own the 21st. While no power on earth is emerging to rival the superpower's former status, China will weigh in as the world's economic heavyweight and a major military contender long before the century ends.

As China booms and thrives and the U.S. declines and weakens, the former cold war enemies are exchanging roles on how to govern and how to run an economy. China is becoming more American, and America is becoming more Chinese.

While still a totalitarian regime, China's focus has shifted from enslavement to entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the trends are reversed. America is in decline, wealth is not being spread, businesses are contracting, and the "can do" spirit hardly shines. With tax breaks, grants, loans, giveaways and sweetheart deals earmarked for the business giants, sport team owners, and big developers...the odds of the little guy winning are a long shot.

And like its communist counterpart that controls the masses through fear and submission, the American Big Brother also breaks into homes, spies on dissidents, monitors its public, stifles protest, abrogates rights, throws people in jail, locks the door and throws away the key.

As the “Wild East” explodes with growth, business opportunities exist for consulting services, learning manuals, and courseware that teach students, management, and employees to think for themselves and act globally.

The Internet Candidate
The opening salvos of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign will be fired over the Internet. Previously restricted by financial costs reserved only for the super rich and/or anointed party members, the low cost of an Internet entry run for president will become the 21st century leveler, permitting a newcomer who's beholden to no one, to now be able to reach everyone.

While the Internet has been on the scene for the last three presidential races, its universal embrace has now made it the entertainment and information source of choice for global age citizens. With half the Web users attracted to social networking sites, the MySpace and Facebook crowds prefer the Internet's YouTube over the Networks' book tube.

With trends showing the greatest wave of political party discontent since Ross Perot's 1992 presidential run, turned off voters are ready to choose a "qualified and competent" independent over the traditional "lesser of two evils" Republican and Democratic candidates. From the trends that are developing, they may get what they want from “The Internet Candidate.”

The tribes of the world are uniting. Tied together by the arteries of the information superhighway, citizens of common dreams and common causes are forming human bonds that transcend national borders, religious beliefs, and political ideologies. Still in its youth and growing with unbound vitality, the exploding Internet is unleashing powers to the people who will change the way the world is run and who will run it.

Bigger than blogs and more influential than the social networks, TechnoTribes will rally masses with calls for action when rights are violated, lives threatened and/or change is needed. Distrusting of politicians and critical of their leadership skills, the egalitarian tribes will unite those who share civic interests, follow moral codes, and believe in universal truths.

Old School Is Cool
Not thrilled with the present and pessimistic about the future, Americans young and old, rich and poor, of all colors, classes, and creeds, are looking to the past to find superior values and higher quality than what they're getting today. From popular culture to political choices, in food, fashion and design, and virtually every sector and all walks of life, there's a yearning for what was.

According to a June 2006 Roper Poll, 66% of Americans see the 1950s, 60s, and 70s as better than today. A Pew Research Center Poll shows that over half of adults believe their children's future will be worse than the present times.

Old world quality in food, fashion, entertainment, art, construction (public and private) among a variety of product lines and services, with an emphasis on "old school cool," will find growing market demand throughout society. A return to "do it better" rather than "make it cheaper" is a mantra that will enhance new millennium businesses and promote innovation.

Systemic Recession
The U.S. is sliding into a long-term economic downturn. Weighed down with massive loads of debt and locked into jobs that limit opportunities to pay it off, the paycheck-to-paycheck public will feel the pinch in their pocketbooks and businesses will be hit hard in their bottom lines long before recession becomes "official." Without the cash to build or the means to borrow, the nation's engine of growth runs out of fuel and there is no industry, service or product in the pipeline to drive future economic growth.

Even with many indicators that spell "real estate recession"—and with the numbers getting worse with each new quarter—the "R" word is never used to define the industry's sharp decline. Instead it's said the market has "slowed" and that conditions are "soft."

The trend for a long-term decline in America's standard of living has long been forecast and there is nothing on the horizon that will renew post WWII levels of prosperity (jobs, education, health care services, etc.), which the country once enjoyed.

Plantation Economy
Working longer, commuting farther, and sinking deeper into a financial hole, America's middle class is shrinking, the rich are getting super rich and the wealthy can afford to buy entire countries. It will only get worse. America is drowning in debt, mired in war, and losing lots of business to competition it didn't have before.

The factories have been shipped overseas, and the replacement "service economy" worker has gone in debt to pay the bills. The working majority are climbing down the ladder of success.

In recent elections throughout Europe and South America, candidates who pushed populist messages and focused on wealth inequality were big winners. While overridden by the Iraq war, corruption, and scandals in the 2006 midterm elections, class struggle will also emerge as a major campaign theme in the 2008 presidential election.

Medical Tourism
One constant in good times and bad is personal health and how to preserve it. Just as executives and entrepreneurs scour the earth to find the best countries in which to do the best deals for the best price, today's consumers are globetrotting to find the best prices for the best medical treatments.

Known for decades among the "in-crowd" who traveled to Costa Rica for big discounts on dental work and cosmetic fix-ups—called medical tourism by some because treatments are often followed by R&R in restful environments—the trend has moved mainstream and to more distant shores.

Leading the charge to India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa—which have joined Costa Rica as popular medical destinations—are America's 78 million baby boomers. Overweight, overstressed, over medicated, out of shape, short of cash and short on health coverage, the boomers--babies no more--are breaking down and in need of medical repair.

In terms of postoperative care, bedside manner and other "human services," the overseas models often exceed stateside offerings. U.S.-based doctors and health organizations will be off-shoring their operations, looking to set up hospitals and clinics in the most cost productive locations.

Re-United States
The Red vs. Blue Wars have subsided, with no evidence from the election of 2006 of a great divide. From Congress to local races, former "Red" states went "Blue" in a general vote of no-confidence by a fed-up public that wanted "change."

Deflated by defeat, President Bush has now called for a political truce. With a losing war to exit from and a personal legacy to salvage, the president, aware that the political game has changed, is now playing the "uniter, not a divider" card that he promised to deal before being elected.

Focused on the big 2008 presidential prize, the Democrats will make decisions that will do little to polarize the electorate, while using their power to expose Republican missteps, violations and misdeeds of the past six years. Absent a major terror strike or an economic, man-made or natural disaster, the next two years will serve to heal many of the nation's open wounds of fractionalism that have deepened over the past six.

American Beauty
After several years of getting the global cold shoulder, the world is starting to again warm up to the USA. Following the U.S. midterm elections, defeat of the Republican Party was reported by the world press as a hopeful sign that a White House without a Congressional majority to support its war efforts would soften its hard line rhetoric and put away its big stick.

Although the U.S. gets low scores for the way it acts on the world stage, America is still seen by nationals of rapidly developing nations as the land of opportunity. With the cooling down of tensions underway, advertising/marketing themes that accentuate the finer elements of the American way, while respecting the norms and mores of the hosting country, will help sell products.

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