2011 Trend Forecast Recap: Top Trends 2012 Coming Soon

Posted 12/17/11

2011 Trend Forecast Recap:

Top Trends 2012 Coming Soon

16 December 2011

Dear Subscriber,

Within the next several days, we’ll be sending you a synopsis of our Top Trends 2012, to be followed …

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2011 Trend Forecast Recap: Top Trends 2012 Coming Soon

Posted
2011 Trend Forecast Recap: Top Trends 2012 Coming Soon
16 December 2011
Dear Subscriber,
Within the next several days, we’ll be sending you a synopsis of our Top Trends 2012, to be followed in a few weeks by our customary New Year’s Trends Journal with detailed analysis and forecasts for the year ahead. As a subscriber, you should be un-surprised by virtually every major socioeconomic and geopolitical development going on today: The Top Trends forecasts we made a year ago have become today’s headline news. Successful trend tracking requires understanding where we are, how we got here and where we’re going. We’re sending you this recap of last year’s Top Trends to remind you where we were a year ago, and how we got to where we are today, in order to prepare for where we will be going next. Wake-Up Call “Screw The People" blared the cover of the December 2010 issue of the Trends Journal, illustrating our forecast of the Top 11 Trends of 2011 with the hand of Uncle Sam putting the screws to the average citizen. A year later, it’s clear that no-holds-barred characterization couldn't have rung more true. “History Before it Happens” – the motto of The Trends Journal – has happened! “Empire America is on its deathbed," we wrote. “But in 2011, the politicians and the boosters are still chanting 'We're #1,’ even though the statistics tell a different tale. There was not a single recognized measure to support that hollow chant. Be it healthcare, education, longevity or working longer and vacationing less, the world's former quality-of-life leader no longer wins, places or shows. In a blink of the calendrical eye, the United States of America had gone from first world to borderline third world." "The Decline of America trend is nowhere near bottom," we wrote, as the New Year approached, "and the worst is yet to come." Today, “worse” has arrived and worst is on its way. A record 47 million Americans – one of every six people you see on streets lined with scores of vacant shops are impoverished, according to government statistics. If you take into account those who are teetering on the edge of poverty, that figure almost doubles. This means nearly one-third of the American populace is struggling to achieve what they once considered their inalienable rights putting food on their tables, gas in their cars, and heat in their homes. As we near the beginning of 2012, what's even more frightening is that nearly one-quarter of all American children are living in poverty. And as we enter a national election year, no candidate – from the pseudo-populist Barack Obama to Newt “Know-it-All” Gingrich, to corporate vulture Mitt "Mega-millionaire" Romney – speaks directly of a nation in decline. Even as the country piles up more and more debt, the Washington Beltway is gridlocked … paralyzed in its perpetual political traffic jam. Crack-Up 2011 Remember the election of 2010 and all the attendant media hype? The mid-term election that victorious Tea Partiers said would change the course of America? Just a year later, the hype reads like pulp fiction while the reality sounds like a chorus from the old “Who” song, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss." As we wrote, “… that ‘momentous’ and ‘historic’ game-changing 2010 election meant essentially nothing – a shuffle of names and a change of clothes.” On the economic front, the trend towards wealth concentration – I noted as far back as 1997 in my bestselling book, "Trends 2000" (Warner Books) – continues. The richest 1 percent of Americans now owns 70 percent of all financial assets. Even the November 2011 “drop” in unemployment to a two-year low of 8.5 percent meant virtually nothing. The rate doesn't consider the new class of people that the Bush/Obama Administrations have created – the millions of permanently unemployed Americans who have been down so low so long they've stopped looking for work and aren't even counted as unemployed. Crime Time "2011 in America will be prime time for crime time," I warned readers in the "Top Trends 2011" issue. Even gold, the one rock solid refuge I identified, fell victim to another one of our forecasts: Crime in high places. The official street-level crime rate may have dropped, but bigger crimes are now being committed in higher places. Criminals are not just the desperate unemployed, stealing copper from anywhere they can find it (statues, gutters, plumbing from empty, foreclosed homes), or cyber criminals pulling off a record-setting 23,000 cyber crimes per month. Just as America's wealth has shifted into the hands of the very few, so too have the very few learned to steal that wealth. There’s no better example of crime in high places than former US Senator and New Jersey Governor, Jon “I don’t know what happened to the money” Corzine. During his watch as CEO of MF Global, his company managed to raid some $1.2 billion of its customers’ segregated accounts to feed Corzine’s gambling habit. However, unlike common thieves, copper thieves and cyber crooks, Corzine – who claims he “didn’t intend to break rules" – has not been indicted or even accused of wrongdoing. Screw the People In the two-tier American justice system, the long arm of the law only reaches down to the low hanging fruit. Swift justice is readily dealt out for small time “criminals.” From closing down lemonade stands operating without a license to sending in SWAT teams to bust raw foods cooperatives, in America, Justice means “just us!” In America the 99 percent are subject to one set of rules, while the one percent who escape punishment by pleading no intention “to break rules,” are subject to another. Banks get slapped with slap-on-the-wrist fines for their billion dollar crimes, and, as in the case of Jon Corzine, no prison time. Back in 1995, while writing “Trends 2000,” I declared, “America was not supposed to be a country where the rich grew richer and everyone else grew poorer,” and correctly predicted that the income disparity between the rich and the shrinking middle class and growing underclass would serve as a flashpoint. In "Top Trends 2011," we specifically predicted, “As millions got wise to this income disparity … and governments further tilted an unlevel playing field to favor the Bigs,” Americans would take to the streets. And so they did. They called themselves “Occupy Wall Street.” Students of the World Unite During 2011, throughout Europe, during the Middle East’s Arab Spring, and from tiny community colleges to that hotbed of ‘60s radicalism, the University of California at Berkeley, hundreds of thousands of students, understanding they were being screwed by the system, took the street and occupied campuses. Their actions fulfilled another Trends Journal forecast, "Students of the World Unite." Around the world, the call to action was essentially the same: Far too few had much too much, and far too many had much too little. In predicting the US uprisings several months in advance, we wrote in December 2010, "The well-publicized news of bank bailouts, billions in executive bonuses, and a spectrum of financial hardship heaped upon those who could least afford them by those who could easily afford them – had the public seething ... especially the young.” Crackdown on Liberty Yet even while pseudo-populist, teleprompted President tries to co-opt the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement, local governments and police forces fulfill one more Trends Journal forecast: "Crackdown on Liberty." "The United States government's assault on civil liberty has been underway for many years," we wrote in the December 2010 Trends Journal issue. "In the decade since 9/11, under the guise of protecting its citizens from terrorism, the government has steadily abrogated individual rights, compromising the very liberties it pretends to preserve." As thousands of protestors occupied Wall Street and Main Streets across America, police department cameras recorded their every step. In New York City alone, more than 4,000 cameras monitored the marching, chanting throngs. Banks which now charge us to hold and spend our money watch our every financial move, with customer tracking increasing "a hundred fold" since 9/11, according to an official banking industry description of the Patriot Act. The proverbial little old lady is x-rayed and strip-searched at airports. America has become a country of fear, not freedom. And when America's secrets are revealed, as they were by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? The country that virtually invented freedom of the press wants to put him in jail. Fortune in Food In December 2010, The Trends Journal forecast that, even as the government makes it easier for huge corporations to capitalize on the organic food movement, more Americans are literally taking the food they eat into their own hands. And as we enter 2012, segments of Americans are putting their money where their mouth is. "Around the world, chefs at high-end restaurants are forming alliances with local farms to provide the freshest foods, often grown at the direction of the chefs themselves," we wrote in December 2010, updating a trend I first forecast in March, 1994. As an indication of that trend, the number of farmers’ markets grew 16 percent from 2009 to 2010. That growth continued this past year, with farmers' markets growing by an additional 17 percent across the country, for a total of 1,000 new markets. The demand for fresh food is so great that, even here in the cold Hudson Valley, markets are staying open in the winter to serve the demand for fresh food by local residents and top New York City restaurants… just as the Trends Journal forecast. Alternative Energy The December 2010 Trends Journal revealed that the most promising new technologies in alternative energy have nothing to do with polluting fossil fuels. They included: advanced hydrogen and water chemistries, low-energy nuclear reactions, magnet motors and solid-state devices – all technologies that release more energy than they consume. The big energy news in 2011 was the oil and gas industry’s version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or “fracking” for natural gas. Even as evidence mounted that fracking blasting millions of gallons of water, sand and toxic chemicals into the earth to free up the gas pollutes drinking water and triggers earthquakes, the oil and gas industry continued to pump billions of dollars into what it calls the nation’s “energy future.” Despite well-organized opposition, politicians continue to trumpet the technology and roll back regulations to allow it, just as Bush and Cheney did to jump start it. “Old habits,” as I observed, “die hard,” even if people and the earth die with them. End of the World To the disappointment of a vocal band of doomsayers, the world did not come to an end on 21 May 2011, as they predicted. However, according to believers in a Mayan Prophesy, "Doomsday" is scheduled to arrive on 21 December 2012. But even though the world will not perish on December 21, “2012 represents a logical threshold date,” we observed, in the December 2010 Trends Journal. “Considering the trends in place, and how they’re developing, some combination of economic and social chaos, environmental/nuclear catastrophe, medical crises, uncontrollable terrorism, and/or intensified military activity is close at hand,” we wrote. Just reading that forecast evokes images of the chaos, catastrophes and crises that did occur in 2011: The Middle East revolutions of the Arab Spring, the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, and the near-doomsday dissolution/debt crises of the European Union are but three examples. “Thus, it is with good reason that ‘Survivalism’ – and all that it entails – is a trend that will dominate the years to come,” we wrote. Journalism 2.0 News flash: Aleksai Navalny, an imprisoned young Russian blogger and Twitterer with some 200,000 followers, will be “credited with mobilizing a generation of young Russians through social media, a leap much like the one that spawned Occupy Wall Street and youth uprisings across Europe this year.” So reported The New York Times about the tens of thousands of Russians protesting their recent elections, the latest instance of what the Trends Journal said would be one of the most striking trends of 2011: “The new media kid on the block has grown up and is beating up Old Man news.” From Egypt to Libya, and from Wall Street to the Kremlin, news was broken by ordinary citizens broadcasting second-by-second newsflashes via Twitter, Facebook, cell phones and the Internet. not through traditional news organizations, which have been decimated by budget cuts and staff slashing. “Journalism 2.0 is already proving impervious to insults and criticism,” we wrote in December 2010. “With its unparalleled reach across borders and language barriers, it has shown its power to influence and educate citizens in ways that terrify governments, and to disseminate information that would never be aired by the corporate media. Of the hundreds of trends we have forecast over three decades, few have had the potential to instigate such far-reaching effect.” Cyberwars As the Trends Journal forecast, Cyberwar – a prospect that once sounded like something out of science fiction – is now a fact of war. Recently, Iran proudly displayed a sleek, white U.S. drone that was used for spying on their country. Iran claims they were able to capture the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 by hacking into its security code. As Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn III told the Council on Foreign Relations, “The cyber threat is here now, and the U.S. needs to confront it. Civilian critical infrastructure is also at risk. Computer-induced failure of our power grids, transportation system, or financial sector could lead to physical damage and economic disruption on a massive scale. Our intellectual property also stands to be taken. The defense industry has been targeted. Designs for key weapons systems have been stolen. The threat to intellectual property housed by our universities and companies is less dramatic than a cyber attack on our infrastructure. But it may over the long term be the most significant cyber threat we have.” Cyberspace is, said Lynn in prophetic words quoted in the December 2010 Trends Journal, “the new domain of warfare.” “This time,” we told the Trends Journal subscribers, “no one will be able to say they didn’t see it coming.” But as the New Year approaches, you, our subscribers will see what’s coming next. And, as a closing suggestion: there’s still time to give the future to your friends and family with a gift subscription to the Trends Journal. Buon Natale, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Gerald Celente
©MMXI The Trends Research Institute®