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Created  2005
FORECASTS 2005

Back in 2000 AD, I wrote FORECASTS2000.  This is the quinquennial review and revision.

BUSINESS

Large scale corporations are (still) overdue for extinction.  The difficulties facing General Motors and FORD and the big US and European airlines are harbingers of that trend.

The cancer will spread.  Patents & copyrights of everything (literature, performance arts, technology, concept, science, pharmaceuticals) are under attack.  Ultimately, no amount of legislation will be able to put Humpty together again.  Public pressure will eventually produce legislation that shortens the extinction of patents & copyrights.

Next to the block will be the large retail chains, probably followed by the household utilities as solar energy utilization and waste recycling become cottage industries and household water is supplied by household water tanks.  Local loop communications will be carried by free decentralized wireless networks.

Transport infrastructure will no longer be a suitable target for venture capital, as the experience with the cross city tunnel and the airport railway in Sydney has shown.  In future, financial managements of these type of projects will be the responsibility of government, although public bond finance and competitive tender will be acceptable methods to construct and finance them in the first instance.

Transport, real estate and mining operations remain the best potential investment market for the next five to ten years.  Government guaranteed or monopoly infrastructure investment is even better, if it can be found.

Stock exchanges worldwide continue in turmoil as fund managers continue to seek a home for the flood of money (much of it produced by government legislation) that is pouring into their coffers.   That flood of money will continue to provide support for stock, bond and real estate prices until growing public scandal causes political intervention.  It should be possible for a skillful player to profit from fluctuations in those industries.  Ultimately (5-10 years) the prospects for stocks, bonds and real estate is bleak.

If the above harbingers aren't enough, "Elliott wave theory" also known as "Kondratrieff wave theory" has a doleful prediction of a major correction.  "Wave theory" analysts have been around for decades, and believe that boom & bust are the product of social forces.  Analysts claim to have found that there is an approximately 40 year cycle to economic activity and have found that every (about) 40 years there is a major recession, (excepting sometimes there isn't, in which case the following recession 40 years later is exacerbated.)  The last really big recession was in 1929, which is 76 years ago. 

PREDICTION:  The overgoverned (and overtaxed) regimes of Europe will continue in economic decline as their stagnant governments raise taxes in an attempt to maintain the bureaucracy with a declining tax base.  The UK (which has been fighting the trend) will decline as North Sea oil reserves decline.  Performance of the US economy will be spotty to good, as new industries take over from the old.  The caveat is that government not intervene to prolong the death agonies of the old industries.  Japan's economy will improve from it's weakened base.  Australia will continue to prosper on the back of primary product sales to China and further liberalization of the labour laws.

In 2000 I predicted that the government of China (corporation China) was in decline because of the changeover to a liberal economy.  I still believe that the government is in relative decline when considering it's control of the Chinese population, however since the Chinese economy is growing at above 8% p/a, the absolute power of the Chinese government has increased.  That increase will continue until those two intersect.

India is invading the information economy, and by 2010 will be strongly competing with China for Primary Industry resources.

MEDIA.

In communication, I previously stated that "Matt Drudge has shown that a single internet journalist can establish a domain that is just as reliable a source of interesting & innovative news as mogul owned billion dollar networks."

I made a mistake.  I should have understood that Drudge was not a journalist so much as an internet information node.  Google has supplanted Drudge's position, and is currently the premier information node for the world.   Advertising dollars are capturing audience via the nodes and the information manufacturers.  The outlook for the traditional information nodes (newspapers, radio, television) is precarious.  Many journalists have obtained their byline by sychophanty rather than insight.  Consequently, I would be unsurprised if journalists are not well represented in the ranks of successful bloggers.

Information manufacturers have begun disbursing their product sans middleman.  EffectMeasure has outlined the growth of blogging in academe, Globe of blogs, Google's blogsearch have lists of and searches for blogs on just about everything.

MEDIA PREDICTIONS ARE MOSTLY UNCHANGED:  Advertising dollars will follow the audience.  The audience will follow the stars.  The stars of the future will be those people (and information nodes) that have attained public recognition for their attributes & abilities, be they physical or intellectual, with emphasis on integrity.    Newsprint (and other media) corporations will survive (even if much reduced) as the opinion fashion houses of the future, attracting clientele by their editorial policies consistency.

CRIME & THE LAW. (Crime Section unchanged)

Crime detection & punishment will become more precise and more relevant.  This is foreshadowed in the USA where hundreds of men serving long sentences for rape are being set free when genetic examination of the sperm (that has been kept frozen) shows that the person convicted was not guilty of the crime.  The huge number of fixed location video cameras installed is already assisting police in the tracing of criminals.  Extrapolating, it will probably become possible within ten or twenty five or ten years to use existing satellite photographs to identify and convict individuals guilty of crimes performed in the present day.  For white collar crime the prospects are even more bleak.  Crimes committed decades past will be ferreted out by intelligent software and the (now wealthy) fraudsters and their heirs deprived of their ill gotten wealth (well maybe).   Eventually crime will diminish to near zero as diagnostic and detection tools anticipate and identify criminal acts.

THE JUSTICE SYSTEM will attempt to respond to the laws introduced by our legislators by prosecuting those cases in copyright and patent, however innovation will make a mockery of their attempts.

PREDICTION:  Contractual and tortious disputes between individuals and corporations will increasingly be settled by preagreed arbitrators.  Prenuptial agreements, marriage ceremonies and divorce arbitration will merge & become "packages" offered by competing religious and/or arbitration organizations.   Voluntary and compulsory treatment will effectively eradicate fraud and violence.  The expensive state system will evolve to enforcement and appeal matters.

HEALTH

The human life expectancy at birth in Australia (E0x) was (in 2003) 82.8 years.  Those who had reached 80 in 2003 AD had a life expectancy of a further 9.7 years.   Many of the diseases of old age are now becoming curable, or are said to be curable within the next few years.  Research in stem-cell technology appears to hold out hope that worn-out limbs & organs might soon be repairable.

The threat of a world Pandemic is being studied and considerable resources are being devoted to mitigating the spread and virulence of any potential pandemic. 

PREDICTION UNCHANGED:   Procedures that maintain health and restore youth will become available by 2030.

GOVERNMENT.

As the spotlight of the evolving interactive media reveals the corruption, shortcomings and mismanagement of politicians, the mass of people will demand reform.   A consequence is the steady increase of independent representatives in our democratically elected legislative assembly, despite the surreptitious efforts of Labour and Liberal party politicians to stack the deck* against independents. In the state of NSW, Australia there are now seven independent representatives in an assembly of 93 members.)   Successful representatives of the internet era will be those that share power with the people, and the power of politicians in the leading liberal democracies will be diminished as voters select those politicians most responsive to their needs.

The collection of income and sales taxes will become more difficult as highly paid employees have their income paid in low tax states or countries, or move offshore, and make purchases from low sales tax sources.  High corporate taxes will be seen as inefficient as they drive manufacturing and industry offshore.

PREDICTION: Government Revenue from income, sales and corporate taxes will begin to shrink by 2008 as large corporations stagnate and the income tax base diminishes.  Diminishing revenue will be supplemented by increasing land & resource rental taxes.

The new era politician will obtain power by viral campaigns, and provide those that they represent with a greater say in the legislative process, probably by online polling on proposed legislation, and online voting on important legislation.

*For instance, refund of expenditure on the costs of being elected is only available to members of a registered political party.

EDUCATION

Secondary education will continue it's migration to the private sector, as to a lesser degree will Primary education.  Eminent tertiary institutions will offer entry exams, which will result in new and cheaper training institutions providing training to attempt those exams.  Eventually a few eminent tertiary institutions will offer public exit examinations (like for instance the Australian SAB = solicitors admission board) as qualification for a degree or entry into a profession.  Mid range tertiary education providers will fight the trend.

PREDICTION UNCHANGED: Public (state) education will tend towards cessation at year six.  A handful of qualification organizations will come to dominate the secondary and tertiary qualification issuance market, leading to a cut in the cost of education.

SCIENCE.

What we call "Scientific Progress" is the utilization of applications in communication and energy.   Landmarks in communication were the formation of language (circa 50k BC), the concept of hardcopy (aka writing, circa 8k BC), mass production of hardcopy (printing press, circa 12th Century) electricity (19th Century).  Landmarks in energy were fire (40k BC?), Mechanical Advantage (aka wheel & lever, circa 5k BC), stored energy machines (e.g. heat engine, circa 17th Century).

  1. Energy  technology will soon (probably incrementally) produce an economic, pollution free power source, probably based on photoelectric technology amalgamated with storage batteries or non polluting thermal fuels.  PREDICTION: Anyone with access to a few square meters of sunlight will eventually become self sufficient in energy.
  2. Communication Technology.  On hardware trend analysis, sometime between about 2010 and 2030 communication technology will produce a computer with calculation power of the same order of magnitude as the human brain.  This computer will be the basis of an android or cyborg or "intelligence enhancement device".  (An "intelligence enhancement device" would probably take the form of an interface technology that coupled the neural cortex to a computing device having plastic silicon arrays that mimic neural architecture, that would effectively "add on" to thinking ability.)  PREDICTION: By 2030 technology will produce intellect enhancement devices that would give the user an intelligence that (if it could be measured) would be measured above IQ 1,000.
Shortly thereafter the human race will cease to exist, either because it has changed itself to superhuman, or because someone has committed genocide.
 

This page concept originated 24 September 1997, Updates 24 November 1998. Y2K added on 14 December '98, minor changes 24 Dec, 4 Jan, 4 April, 10 July/99;.8 Sept. 1999, major update 21 November 1999, reviewed 18 January 2000, 20/29 February 2000.   Second (this) quinquennial version December 2005.

This page created December 2005.

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