Here is an update from our futurist and precog discussion last month, and the global financial crisis that emerged.
The futurists at Pentagon think tanks and elsewhere, as well as leading economists (the un-biased ones), are still holding to a complete economic system collapse that will take another 12-18 months to manifest fully. Below is an article with resources to understand the ongoing crisis by futurist John L. Petersen.
The "perfect storm" of a global restriction of credit happening just before the holiday shopping season is but one factor in all of it. Others continue to believe that the Bush administration has been holding back a tidal wave of economic troubles in order to have at least some chance at victory for McCain. The financial troubles we have seen thus far being what spilled over the edges.
Whatever the case we will continue to monitor the situation and keep folks posted on any new predictions.
FUTUREdition, Vol. 11, #19
By John L. Petersen, editor
Well, as we have been saying for over two-and-a-half years now, it really appears that the world?s financial system is going to fail in a very significant way in the coming months.? We?re not talking about recession here.? It looks worse than that.?
My guess, from reading the folks who both have a reason to best understand the potential behavior of this system and have a track record of not being biased by ties to the institutions they are analyzing, is that we haven?t begun to see the bottom of this collapse.? Twelve to 18 months seems to be a common notion of when it begins to turn up . . . presuming, of course, that other significant events like rapid climate change or bird flu don?t come along and exacerbate things.
Our own Dr. David Martin laid out the emergence and evolution of this crisis in July of 2006 and has updated his assessment regularly with two Spring-side Chats (One and Two) here in Berkeley Springs.??
If you?d like a couple of other data points, consider these pieces by Nouriel Roubini and this NEWSHOUR interview with Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Benoit Mandelbrot.? Roubini has been spot on about this whole thing up to now, outlining the 12 steps to the system?s meltdown in February of this year.? He now says there is another year or more to go.?
Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, and Mandelbrot, the best-known developer of fractal geometry, approach this crisis from a more theoretical perspective, trying to understand the potential behavior of an extraordinarily complicated system.? They say that this system is too complex for anyone to understand and that presents the distinct possibility of rolling, interconnected failures that build into what may be the most significant disruption since the American Revolution ? this could be the most important event in the history of the country.??
The wild card in this mix seems to me to be the derivatives ? all 60 to 600 TRILLION dollars worth of them.? There are differing estimates as to the amount that is in the system (part of the problem is that they are unregulated).? The operative issue is that they are (relatively) benign only until the group psychology changes.? If, for any reason, confidence in the system is significantly lost, there are good reasons to believe that, as Warren Buffett has suggested, the house of cards will come tumbling down.?
So it will be interesting, no matter what happens.
It?s clear that there is a new world beginning to emerge here that will be quite different from what we have found familiar all of our lives.? There are a number of authors who are responding to this transition by attempting to frame ideas and concepts about and for the new future.? Let me recommend a couple to you.
For quite some time now, James Howard Kunstler has been one of the most articulate and creative people following and reporting on this global shift.? His writing (The Long Emergency) and presentations on the systemic meltdown of the system make great, provocative reading and wonderful, entertaining listening.?? Jim?s most recent book, World Made By Hand is great grist for futuring.? It is a scenario ? in the form a fictional tale ? about a post-petroleum future where horses are the only mode of land transportation and the old social system has been upset.? As with any good scenario, it causes one to think seriously about what might actually emerge out of all of this change.? I liked it.
Futurist Joe Coats has been thinking about the new world and how a new set of values might inform our societies.? His book, A Bill of Rights for 21st Century? America? is a very creative attempt to distill the shifting beliefs that underpin life in our rapidly changing world into a practical platform that could be the basis for the new era.? Quite provocative.
From his perch at George Washington University, Bill Halal has been continuing his broad-based cataloging of the world of technology.? His book, Technology?s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Society,? is a rather comprehensive forecast of the future of science and technology that ranges widely through many possibilities including biogenetics, society online, deep space travel, shifting social structures, and even the age of consciousness.? It will help expand your mind.
And of course, there is the 2008 State of the Future, from The Millennium Project and Jerry Glenn and Ted Gordon.? This deep look at global futures has no parallel.? Jerry and Ted have been collecting input from their global network of futures practitioners for more than a decade now (I remember sitting in the meeting where they first announced the launch of MP), and cooking up global scenarios, analysis and forecasts on significant issues.? Among many other things, they detail global challenges, energy and environmental issues and include a CD on which resides 6,300 pages of information, including the cumulative work of the Millennium Project since 1996.? On the CD you?ll find a section on sustainable development, environmental security, future ethical issues . . . and an appendix of 2,600 pages.?It will keep you busy for a while!http://www.arlingtoninstitute.org/tai/fearchive-featured