Did you notice what began right after Thanksgiving? I’m not talking about holiday shopping, although if you haven’t started yet, join the club. We weren’t even into the week after the holiday when I saw my first set of predictions for 2012. By now they’re coming out at full throttle. Predictions for food, wine, technology, social media, fashion, you name it, they’re on their way.
Some people make predictions to show how prescient they can be. Others do it as a new business ploy, thinking that their business prospects will be swayed by their foresight. One thing I haven’t seen yet is anyone measuring their success for the predictions they made for 2011. I don’t think we’ll see much of that since it’s not part of the sport. But I’m going to change that. I’m joining the club of predictors and prognosticators and making twelve predictions for 2012, one for each month. And I predict that they will all come true – 100%. I’ll come back in a year to check and see if I’m right and then expect a crescendo of congratulations. So here goes:
- People will talk. You can bet on it. With a national election next year, the economy trying to rebound and the usual celebrities acting out, there will be plenty of chatter on TV, radio, the all-important blogosphere and by the office coffee maker. If you decide to spend the year in some distant atoll in the Pacific, don’t fret, you won’t miss a thing. It will all happen again in 2013.
- People will be interested in themselves. Face it. There’s not a lot of altruism in the world. Even those who say they’re altruistic often aren’t. Political, business and social motives often spur our eleemosynary sides (always looking for an opportunity to use “eleemosynary” – look it up). I’m not preaching about this. I suffer from the same affliction.
- We will become more distracted. It’s been said many times. There’s too much information and too many ways to communicate. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to focus. That’s not going to change. Huffington Post will probably add twenty more sections for us to while away the time.
- We will become more desperate. I’m going to take credit for something. In 2009, I gave a presentation in Chile about business prospects in the U.S. during the recession. At that time, I said the U.S economy wouldn’t return to some semblance of normal until 2014 at the earliest and most likely, not until 2016. Why? As large as our economy is – $14 trillion – it can’t recover quickly when our housing value loss is about one-third and real unemployment (reported + unreported) is probably closer to 16% than the reported 8.6%. We dug a giant hole for ourselves by conducting two wars and cutting taxes at the same time. Most Americans wish someone, anyone, would wave their magic wand and make things better. It doesn’t work that way. We have the patience of a two-year old. I hope I’m wrong but I’d bet $10,000 of Mitt Romney’s money that we’re not. If you’re one of those impatient types, plan your desperation calendar now.
- The economy may get worse but it could get better. Having just said that we’ve got a long row to hoe, we’re going to see some cycles in the midst of our misery. Expect the current administration to do whatever it can to pump things up a bit before next year’s election. And also expect the stock market to get overly pumped up before it gets let down. Am I being overly dreary? No, just realistic. They also say pessimists are often happier people because their expectations are easily exceeded.
- All politicians will lie to us except for those who tell the truth. In our current climate, does anyone really think anyone running for election to be truthful? They’re more likely to meet Steven Colbert’s low standards for “truthiness.” Yet, there will be a few who will tell the truth. They’re either the ones not running, retiring or the losers.
- Facts will be fungible. Who says you’re entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts? Nobody’s going to stop writing their own facts just because Tom Friedman says to in one of his brilliant columns. The most current book next year will be, as it was this year, 1984, published in 1949 by the way. How prescient was Orwell?
- Everything old will be new again. It happens every year, short is back and long is out or is it long is out and short returns? Whatever. Gotta keep those factories moving.
- What goes around comes around. Not all that different from #8 but the point here is to be nice to the people you meet on the way up. They’ll look pretty good to you as you head the other way. Success can be ephemeral, just like fashion.
- Blame will be assigned but not to ourselves. Here comes Tom Friedman again telling us to take responsibility for our actions. When did this guy come along? Sadly, we are in a world where no one jumps up and says “I take responsibility, now let’s figure this out together.” It’s too easy to point the finger at politicians, business people, the media and each other.
- Difficult decisions will not be made but will be forced upon us. If we had begun making good decisions 30 years ago, we’d all be driving cars that got 50 miles per gallon, that’s when we’re not taking mass transit. We’d have a fair tax code. Banks would be our guardians instead of robbers and CEO’s would be making 10 times the average worker, not 300. All this may happen soon but at an enormous cost and it will be forced down our throats.
- At year-end, predictions will be made for 2013. I can guarantee this one. There will be plenty to say next year at this time. I’ll check to see if I’m right but I don’t think I’ll make predictions again. I’ll just reprint this entry.
Tags: Altruism, Americans, Assumptions, Blogosphere, CEO Compensation, Change, Chile, Crazy people, Desperation, Distractions, Dreams, Economy, Election, Events, Foresight, Governments, Huffington Post, Mistakes, Mitt Romney, Outcomes, Pessimist, Politicians, Predictions, Recession, Recovery, Situation Analysis, Steven Colbert, Stock Market, Success, Tax Code, Thanksgiving, Tom Friedman, Truthiness