10 trends defining 2017


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For nearly 40 years, forecaster Gerald Celente and his Trends Research Institute have established and sustained a remarkable track record accurately forecasting powerful, game-changing trends in economics, geopolitics, health, education, technology, aging, pop culture and more.

Each year, the institute publishes a list of the top trends for year ahead. The Top Trends of 2017 were announced in the December 2016 Trends Monthly. Below is a recap.

As you’ll see, they already are taking shape and beginning to affect your bottom line and quality of life.

1. MAKE IT NEW

Sweeping the gamut from political ideologies and financial systems at the top, down to the lowest depths of pop culture, across the media spectrum and throughout entrenched institutions, the status quo is out of vogue: Making it “new” will make it profitable.

THE FORECAST: Populist movements are one — but only one — byproduct of this trend. The foundation has been set for revolution. It’ll come not only in the reformist, protest sense, but in the creation of new art, technology, social awareness and cultural movements that embrace the need for “new.”

Those that understand the depth and scope of this trend, and fulfill the needs of a society in search of deeper meaning and fuller representation, will reap the rewards.

2. ECONOMIC DISORDER

The early Trump US equity-market rally is real. The economic year that was will never be again. The new economic year ahead will be like none we have ever seen before. With a business leader leading the country, the business of the country will return to business. Under Trump, corporate tax breaks, business deregulation and infrastructure stimulus will recharge the economy. How long does it last?

THE FORECAST: As US interest rates rise and the dollar gets stronger, emerging-market currencies will weaken. That, in turn, will dramatically increase their debt-repayment burden and increase financial-market instability.

In developed nations, cheap money, not corporate earnings, boosted equity markets with record-breaking merger-and-acquisition and stock-buyback activity. As interest rates rise, and the cost of borrowing increases, true price discovery and market fundamentals will drive the markets.

As evidenced, a stronger dollar will continue to push down gold prices. We forecast gold prices will rebound when global financial-market volatility and increasing geopolitical unrest escalates. Therefore, gold will remain a long-term safe-haven asset.

3. TRUE NOSTALGIA

It’s bigger than millennials’ penchant for Edison bulbs and a grasp of the past. Across the globe, socioeconomic unrest and dim prospects for the future will generate high demand for a product/service remix of the past that entails a sense of the good old days — retrofitted to appeal to hungry-for-change consumers worldwide.

THE FORECAST: Advertisers and marketers of products and services that span the retail spectrum in virtually every category — toys, music, magazines, food, fashion, movies, etc. — will reap both sizable financial rewards and greatly expand their customer base by identifying artistic/cultural high points of their nation’s past and retrofitting them for the future.

Among the most obvious is music. Highly digitized, synthesized and computerized, mostly void of instruments, tightly programmed and monotonously predictable, the sounds of today provide but one glaring example of a major market niche to be filled by retrofitted sounds and styles that once prevailed.

For example, a music style that would resonate to nostalgia-hungry Americans would reflect a past era that today’s public believes was the high time of the nation. It’d be choosing a time they never lived in, but one that fills a nostalgic desire.
Similarly, in nations across the world suffering from socioeconomic unrest and dim prospects for the future, any product/service remix of the p
ast that entails a sense of the good old days will achieve wide consumer appeal.

4. RIP: THE FOURTH ESTATE

The daily newspaper is on its death bed. Will the mainstream media at large live or die? No longer the people’s protectorate, tanking public trust and shrinking financial resources have limited traditional media’s influence on the public. The Fourth Estate — the unofficial fourth branch of government designed to hold powerful people and institutions accountable — is no longer the domain of the mainstream media. What will replace it?

THE FORECAST: Expect dramatic shifts to begin early in 2017. National and metro newspapers, as well as smaller newspapers, will aggressively cut space for news to save costs. Print-publication frequency will reduce. The daily newspaper — as we know it today as something you hold in your hand and page through — will fade.
Investigative and in-depth reporting will become even more scant. That will leave the door wide open for unprofessional, poorly resourced and purely biased media to produce shoddy, untrustworthy reporting disguised as legitimate and in-depth.

The truth will be harder to find.

And when upstart or existing alternative-news sites begin to make news, the mainstream media, taking their last breaths, will label it “fake news.”

5. RUST BELT 2.0
The technological wave sweeping the globe in 2017 will trigger a historic, rapid transformation of how societies live, work and play. Silicon Valley, once the beacon of high-tech American innovation and entrepreneurs, will lose its status as the global center of technological transformation. Where and who will rule the next high-tech generation?

With astonishing effect, our machines increasingly will do the thinking for us.

THE FORECAST: In 2017, with dramatic frequency, service-sector jobs will fall to technology. That’ll be followed by middle-management positions being eliminated across the retail spectrum. Customer-service functions and assembly-line work will shrink as well.

On education and skills-training fronts, Rust Belt 2.0 explodes, giving rise to the first generation of virtual-reality education (see our separate top trend). Curriculums will take off in medicine, information technology, accounting, cybersecurity and other fields.

Automation also finds its way into the public sector. Citizens, with increasing frequency, will be able to access records, conduct municipal business and engage local, state and federal governments through virtual-reality-assisted technology.
Moreover, those sales, manufacturing and customer-service jobs that had been sent overseas to low-wage-paying countries can now be done here, via technology, at lower cost.

Investment in artificial intelligence, deep learning, robotics, virtual reality and chip technology is powering Rust Belt 2.0 to levels that will greatly and quickly surpass the dot.com boom of the 1990s.

6. VR-ED
Virtual reality is a mega-trend in motion that will expand far beyond the video-game world. The technology’s explosive use and effectiveness in educational and training settings will begin to build a foundation that will replace today’s outdated Industrial Age education model with a cost-effective, high-reward, low-risk approach to education.

The fast-evolving VR-ED trend is bolstered by a growing record of success in health care, security, science, technical skills and other training.

THE FORECAST: Dismantling public and other monolithic education systems in the US and globally is a task that moves at the speed of glaciers. But VR-ED breaks through in 2017 as a feasible, cost-effective, high-reward, low-risk approach to education.

The process of integrating VR-ED into aspects of traditional education is hot — and it’s beginning to happen. Further, as data show increasingly positive metrics on the use of VR-ED, a growing number of community, political and business leaders will become advocates. President Donald Trump’s Department of Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, for example, is a strong advocate of home schooling, where VR-ED has strong potential and growing support.

While this trend continues to grow, it’s still in its infancy. And as new applications for VR technology emerge, investors will continue to profit. While uses now are most prevalent in specific skills training and higher-education areas, especially in medical arenas, the future of education on all levels — from kindergarten through doctoral studies — is virtual.

7. THE ONTRENDPRENEUR®
On-trend creative professionals will be best positioned to identify high-potential opportunities in a rapidly shifting new-world-order economy that slow-moving multinational companies have, and will continue to, leave behind.

THE FORECAST: Cutting-edge, creative professionals will be increasingly positioned to identify high-potential opportunities in this shifting, tech-dominated economy.

Entrepreneurs who understand the value of the personal touch will be on trend to stand apart from a merger, acquisition and automation culture driven only by the bottom line.

Opportunities will be particularly promising in sharing-economy ventures; health and well-being initiatives that stress whole, natural health; serving the needs of the aging; creating quality products, from clothing to arts and crafts, with a distinct local, regional or national identity; local multiplatform media operations; building product and service lines that stress “True Nostalgia” authenticity; and investment in community development and housing that serve both millennials’ penchant for small space and seniors who increasingly want to be close to culture, entertainment options, community ties and more.

8. NO MORE CASH

The cashless society trend is in full growth mode. It’s the Golden Rule: Those that have the gold, rule. In this new cashless society, financial and governmental institutions — not We the People — have custody of digital/paperless cash. The pace at which currency across the globe was challenged or devalued accelerated in 2016. The stage is now set for even greater momentum: In 2017, there’ll be a global sprint toward digital currency.

TREND FORECAST: While the complete transition to a cashless world will take a decade or more to complete, digital transactions will become more dominant in 2017. Technologies and companies that accelerate and facilitate digital currencies will grow in demand. And privacy concerns will grow as well.

In this new cashless society, financial and even governmental institutions — not you — have custody of your cash. Every purchase you make, and where and when, draw a profile over time of your preferences, habits, needs and interests.
The cashless movement, which empowers corporate giants and accelerates government control over your money and privacy, continues unabated.
Bet your bottom dollar — or your digital dollar — on this: The transition to a cashless society in the US and across the Western world, as well as much of the world, is cemented.

9. SELL, BUY CHINA

Although the great rush to China by manufacturers and luxury retail marketers has slowed, and many businesses chafe at high investment barriers that hinder foreign companies, the Sell, Buy China trend remains on a strong upward trajectory. Across the investment spectrum, from high-tech to Hollywood, China buys what it can’t make or needs more of.

TREND FORECAST: President Donald Trump has made good on his promise to kill The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. He said during a Republican debate that the “The TPP is horrible deal — a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.” China was intentionally excluded from the “deal” by the Obama Administration.

To fill the trade void, China has proposed the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. It would strengthen its influence in the region; more nations, including Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia have expressed support.

On the issue of Trump imposing a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods coming into the US, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “There are not going to be trade wars.”

We agree. While there may be pauses in trade volume, mostly due to economic conditions of slowing global trade and policy negotiations, both nations will find it in their best interest to expand, rather than restrict, bilateral trade.

10. REEFER MONEY MADNESS

As marijuana legalization continues to increase, opportunities to make millions on pot will accelerate. But the financial-pot future is far greater than cashing in on recreational highs or to cure a medical malady. Those opportunities, and how pot will fill state-government coffers with more tax dollars than booze has generated, are detailed in our Top 10 Trends for 2017.

TREND FORECAST: With growing popular support for marijuana legalization, we forecast a promising financial pot future. In particular, we forecast sharp growth in food- and beverage-infused marijuana products. These are becoming easier to produce at wider profit margins, are growing in popularity and are more easily branded and marketed, appealing to consumers put off by pot as a smoking product.

Further, as retail outlets grow, so does the need for the equipment and training needed to produce the products. That’s another ripe investment area.   TJ

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