Here are fourteen trends we can count on for the new year.
(Of course we now live in a world where it seems we are interrupted weekly with a new crisis. Nevertheless, we are learning to manage through them, and continue on with positive trends which allow us to progress. That may be the biggest trend of all. We hear of and sometimes witness plagues, pestilence, famine, disease, wars, rumors of wars, tumult, earthquakes, floods, economic malaise, etc., but we are becoming expert at managing them. This is not by chance. We have learned over the past 15 years to prepare for disasters and emergencies. We are building cities whose infrastructures are powerful. Readiness now defines us. Information comes faster allowing us to avert possible calamity.)
And through it all, we have some cool things coming our way next year.
1. Oil prices normalize, but remain lower than before:
The age of high gas prices has ended. Sometime in 2015, we will see the bottom hit in low prices, then they’ll moderate up a bit, BUT nowhere near where they were at the high point. That will become the new norm. Cumulatively, that saves hundreds of billions of dollars for citizens at all levels of the economic spectrum, but especially at the middle and lower levels. This will start to reignite the middle class.
2. New jobs continue to grow:
New job creation will see its biggest gains this new year. By the end of 2015 unemployment will drop to under 5.5%. In 2009, it was well over 10%. Presently it is 5.8%. Full employment is 4%. By the time Obama ends his time on office, full employment will be close at hand.
3. The economy grows at close to a 4% clip:
Under normal conditions a 2 % plus growth in the American economy is acceptable. In 2015 it will be around 4%. Corporate profits will grow, and the DOW (stock index) should reach 20,000. In 2009 the DOW hit a low of 6500 during our Great Recession.
Whether you are in the top 10% of wage earners in America or the lower 50% of wage earners, all will see and feel and benefit from the full spectrum of economic growth.
4. Genetic testing kits expand:
This year will be the start of the commercialization of genetic kits. Disease is determined by the make-up of our genes. Know your genes, know the future of your health. Know that, and you start to heal yourself. Life expectancy will continue to climb this year, but at a more profound level. This year we start to come to grips with our own personal blueprint.
5. Arabs and their allies will bolt down ISIS:
Moderate Arab leaders will begin to take matters into their own hands, and start to bolt down jihadi terrorism. Terrorism will eventually become a local issue that will be managed by local police on a worldwide coordinated basis, instead of by militaries.
6. Cities begin to take infrastructure seriously:
Cities will become centers of preparedness and circumvention of natural disasters. Bridges, flood control, earthquake prevention, structural reinforcement, clean and efficient energy use will become stronger, safer, and well managed for most any emergency.
On this, you will see more cooperation between the United States Congress and the White House. Money will be made available to start these projects. In addition to creating a modern infrastructure that ensures our safety, it will bring another powerful stimulus to the economy.
7. Consumer confidence goes into high gear:
Consumers will have more money in their pockets. They’ll spend more on consumer goods. Health care will continue to become more cost effective and efficient.
Two thirds of the American economy is based on consumer spending. Consumers will break spending records in 2015.
8. China’s economy expands as does its relationship with America:
China will recover from its sub-par growth and expand its import of consumer goods, which will boost America’s business with the China’s consumer market.
9. The more interconnected these two countries are with one another, the less likely tensions will get out of control. China and America represent the two biggest economies in the world. Combined both countries’ yearly economies represent more than 25 trillion dollars, with China’s sitting at 10 trillion and America’s at 15 trillion.China and America will continue to work together to create large projects that dramatically cut environmental pollution:
10. Russian economy continues to stall:
Russia’s economy will go through a stiff recession even though energy prices normalize. The ruble’s fall will test Russia’s new middle class. No new cars, no travel to warmer climates in January, and no new homes will disrupt their new lifestyles. What would you do if you were they (or them)? We would boil over with anger. The Russians are no different.
Putin understands the challenge before him.
11. Iran and America strike a deal:
Relations between Iran and America will continue to improve. Iran’s revolution which started in 1979 is essentially over. Iran will become a member of the larger community and will draw back much of its terrorist activity.
12. Pope Francis becomes the model for new global leadership:
Jesuit priests have always been a thorn in the side of the Vatican. Now, one of theirs is pope. Jesuit Pope Francis is continuing that tradition. His message is: pastoring and ministering to the poor is what religion is about, not power, money and careerism. Religion is to become flat, not hierarchical. Pope Francis is creating a new Catholicism. A restoration and reformation all in one.
13. Cancer specialists continue to customize treatments:
Digitization makes it possible to treat individual cancers with customized drugs. Lives will be saved not by general drugs that treat a percentage of the population, but by customized drugs that treat one patient at a time. This will become aptly clear this coming year.
14. Presidential campaigning will focus on one thing – the middle class:
The Middle Class: more jobs will come their way, more money will end up in their pockets, more relevant educational opportunities will be made available, and more high paying manufacturing jobs will employ them.
Not since the Great Depression and World War Two with the passage of the Social Security Act and the GI Bill will so much attention be paid to today’s America’s middle class.
15. Presidential candidates of both parties will campaign on this reality. No one gets elected in 2016 if they don’t prove in 2015 that they will fight for the firming up and strengthening of the middle class. A consensus has been reached.