My forecast for this decade
Well, whaddya know.
Always wanted to see a tornado, but sorta figured it would come when I was . . . . somewhat further south.
We'd been taking my brother-in-law and girlfriend on a tour of downtown Ottawa, and were heading home along the southern shore of the Ottawa River.
When the tornado alert sounded on several cellphones in the car, my first thought was, Yeah sure. I guess it'll keep Bro busy for a few hours.
(My brother has the distinction of being one of Ontario's severe weather warning meteorologists.)
No sooner had the thought passed, than came the shriek from the back seat. There it is!
Sure enough. Dead in front. Across the river, I thought. (Um, wrongo.)
Strike another one off the bucket list.
We stopped the car, scrambled down the embankment, and watched it a while.
By the time we got home, it had disappeared. I knew better that to pump my brother for info. The local media would be keeping him flat out for at least 24 hours.
Next morning, though, he was at the front door.
Wanna guess where that thing started? he asked.
What had looked like a nice, elegant piece of art, created for my entertainment . . . .
. . . . had in fact touched down three streets away from my home, before travelling several miles downriver.
And we don't even live anywhere close to Tornado Alley.
I hadn't been feeling particularly cocky beforehand, but was nevertheless feeling decidedly LESS cocky now.
Fast forward to 2020.
There's only one solution for cockiness.
Make your own forecast.
Not the weather. I'm not that crazy.
Just Life. On Planet Earth. For 2020-29. A forecast for the next decade. Not too challenging, eh?
In no particular order, this is what I see happening over the next ten years.
A Tale of Two Economies: A new “underground” economy, characterized by unofficial new jobs and businesses, all out of view of of government.
People who move into this new economy will do quite nicely; those who don’t, won’t.
What we think of as the “traditional economy” will still not have recovered by 2029 (if indeed it ever does).
Developed nations defaulting on debt repayments, or rising taxes, or rising inflation. (Possibly, all three.)
The burden of government on people is already heavier than it has ever been in history; it will shortly get much worse.
When the first big nation defaults (Japan and Italy are leading contenders) . . . . the dominoes will start to fall. We’ll be into a new crisis.
Governments everywhere will fall over themselves to cut spending. Career civil servants will find themselves out the door with no severance package or pension. It will not be pretty.
Re-drawing of international borders. Some new, some shifting, some outright disappearing. (Almost definitely, this will not be free of violence.)
I expect Scotland to secede, as will the western Canadian provinces, Quebec, Catalonia, and most sub-national regions with proud cultural histories.
The USA will splinter: California and Texas on their own, the remaining states into three or more groupings. (Yes, a second American Civil War is a distinct, if frightening possibility.)
I don't like any of this, by the way. I don't think it solves anything. But it's going to happen.
Re-purposing and re-imagining of real estate. This, at least, will be GOOD news.
Commercial real-estate and office space will become incredibly cheap, which will be terrific for expanding businesses and new housing (hopefully low-cost).
Repurposing, and rezoning of this real-estate will be BIG business.
At the same time, huge number of single-family dwellings will be redeveloped and renovated to become centres of small business at the same time.
This will upend the insurance industry. Commercial and industrial insurance businesses will fold, but new ones will spring up that cater to single-family homes/businesses.
Multiple catastrophes, all linked.
Catastrophes are pack animals. There were ten plagues in biblical Eqypt, all different, all in a very short space of time.
Big earthquakes and volcanic equptions are accompanied by multiple tremors (before and after), maybe also a tsunami.
A big eruption can cause severe weather events.
Just about all activity on this planet is fractal, including human activity. So when one catastrophe strikes, expect more.
It never rains, it pours.
Consolidation of big inefficient giants into a few behemoths.
Think: Airlines. Already with razor-thin profit margins, they’re being bailed out by their national governments, who will demand something in return. That something will be consolidation and control.
I foresee one big carrier per nation or region, eg Air US, Air UK, Air EU, holding monopolistic control over air travel.
Air travel will cease to be anything approaching a pleasurable experience.
At the same time, small private operators of 4-10 passenger aircraft will find their business booming. This trend will occur for many different industries, not just air travel.
Growing alternative, and small-scale health care. Big Health Care (whether publicly funded or otherwise) is not coping with Covid-19; it will even LESS well cope with the next catastrophe.
Senior citizens are dropping like flies with Covid-19; it will get worse.
People will have no choice but to take responsibility for their own health, and this means doing their own research, creating their own advisory networks, creating their own Prevention and Preventative Maintenance regimens.
This exists already, but it’s going to take off. I see this as a welcome development, but it will still require big adjustments for everyone. Some will just not cope. Or survive.
Growing DIY and Craft Movement. Think: Food, drink, physical training, therapy (of all kinds).
We’ve already got craft beer and coffee. Why not beef or yoghurt? Why not clothing?
I see a return to the days when every village, and every city block, has its own butcher, baker and candlestick maker again.
Tailor, carpenter, plumber, lawyer, greengrocer, pharmacist, doctor, clergyman/woman . . . . you’ll know the names and faces of everyone who makes the stuff you need.
Growing small-scale manufacturing. With the arrival of technologies like 3D printing, robotics, CRISPR, Arduino, etc . . . . it is already possible for anyone to start his own factory in his garage.
Few have done it so far, but now many have been given the push they need. Indeed, they may have no choice, if they’re locked down again.
This is really just the Craft Movement coming to physical stuff.
Growth of Self-Reliance, Individualism and Voluntarism. As governments collapse, along with the bureaucratic services they’ve led us to depend on, we’re going to be left to fend for ourselves. (On a lot of fronts.)
Policing, health care, senior care, fire and emergency services, addiction recover, counselling and spiritual support services . . . .
We’ve come to depend on Big Brother to do all this for us, and we’ve been the poorer for it.
Now we’re going to have to do it for ourselves and our neighbours . . . . We will be the richer for it.
Growing hunger for ancient wisdom.
When catastrophe strikes, you feel like the rug, nay, the floor has been pulled out from under you.
When catastrophe strikes a whole nation, or the whole WORLD . . . . ???
People are going to be asking, How the HELL did we get into this mess? Why did we allow this to happen? How did I fall asleep at the wheel like that?
The answers are never found quickly, but they can be found.
The best places to look are in the faces and annals of the wise ones who came before us. Trusted aunts and grandparents, people with wrinkles and creased smiles.
And great, ancient books, that have stood the test of time. Plato, Euclid, Aristotle, Moses, St Paul, Shakespeare, Ibn Khaldun . . .
(Photo credit: For once, Me)