Prediction for 2012

Prediction for 2012: A year of unimaginable extremes. The fiction of wall street broken by the occupy movement will see a broader decrease in trust in the economy and corporations. Jobs will be lost. Free agents will struggle as the economy to support them hasn’t gained ground yet. Depression will be the word of the year in many circles. Politics in the US will seem chaotic and highly unpredictable.

At the same time, trust in neighbors will go up along with bartering. As the middle class dies a begrudging death, the sleeping giant of America awakens. Survival will be about connecting to people around you. Quality of life will start to improve in dark contrast to economic stability. You will rate elements of the year either a 1 or a 9.

There will be at least 3 and likely 7 major catastrophes, some weather related and 2 or more economic black swans. Fear will not be about terrorism, it will be about the chaos and structure change by the amassing disenfranchised. (When 65% feels disenfranchised, there will be change, and it won’t be pretty)

Major factor in making it, from a business perspective, will be how trustworthy are you. Some iteration of “micro” will be seen everywhere. Set directions but not destinations. Push decision-making to the edge or you won’t be nimble enough to adjust to extreme economic climate.

The divide in the US will grow larger. On many axis. Short term thinking will result in short term gains that never add up to long term endurance. Think and be like a marathon runner. Drink lots of water. Meditate. Act small with a long view.

If you let go of all your assumptions and the story you had about your life, your business, and your world, and instead focus on your confidence in responding in this moment to what is before you, directing yourself and your business toward a direction you believe in; then you will end the year grateful. If you resist…well, the infrastructure collapses with or without you in it. Make quality of life your mantra. Seek the path you can be in with grace.

 

I was asked on Facebook what mechanisms I was using to think of this. This is my quick answer:
1. studying currency design, trust and radical economists (money is a collective agreement to pretend there is value in a number. The number 1435 has no value as anything more than a number, but if I say you have that much money, we can do something with it. Context matters. Don’t trust the context? Value goes up in smoke – start bartering and find other ways to exchange value.)
2. conversations with economic historian and reading about transitions in smaller scales (http://srnels.people.wm.edu/and on blockage – http://thrivable.wagn.org/wagn/Book+blockage)
3. watching what is working – what is and has been making communities more resilient
4. playing with models in my head – what if there is more of that… or less of this… what would happen then?
5. Swarm behavior and complexity science – looking at meta stable states, phase changes, slime molds as metaphor of individual/collective.

Influenced also by: Age fo the Unthinkable – http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/unthinkable/index.html which I recommend highly.

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