Here’s a scorecard on some of the bold predictions made more than a decade ago in Gerald Celente’s groundbreaking book, Trends 2000 (Warner Books, 1997), and how those forecasts are evolving today. In this Trending feature, we hold Celente accountable.
Prediction: The health/fitness/nutrition trend will go into an accelerated growth stage driven by an aging baby-boom population.
Result: Back then Whole Foods was not a national name. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers were all people knew about losing weight. Nutrition was something that only “health nuts” cared about. The fitness biz has now become a staple of everyday life. It was the Baby Boomers 20 years ago who were leading the health/fitness/nutrition trend. And today, those who want to stay out of nursing homes, remain independent and be able to boogie before the lights go out, will lead a new wave of Whole Health Healing life style.
Status: The trend is firmly established and will grow at a moderate rate.
Prediction: The energy revolution will be the single biggest investment opportunity for the twenty-first century.
Result: Yes! But it has not happened yet. The greatest opportunity is not in fossil fuels. It will be more advanced than wind, solar, geothermal or biofuels.
Status: There have been a number of truly revolutionary new energy developments — including cold fusion, low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), magnet motors and “Hydrino” (“little hydrogen” power) — but to date, they have not produced promised results. We have been keeping Trends Journal subscribers on top of developments in alternative energy.
Prediction: Home improvement and remodeling will be a strong and growing sector.
Result: We forecast that trend seven years before the great home equity loan boom that boosted the home improvement/remodeling business to unforeseen highs. Retail businesses and contractors that supplied product and services also benefited.
Status: Do you remember once upon a time when people built McMansions? You don’t hear that term anymore. The best years of the building boom and the home improvement days are over, but there will be moderate growth as homeowners fix up rather than move up. And as for the McMansions? Some will become the new boarding houses of the 21st century.
Prediction: Austerity budgets coinciding with economic fallback and burgeoning interactive technologies will disrupt all levels of the teaching profession. But on-trend educators will find new professional opportunities opening up on the interactive home schooling network.
Result: In Trends 2000, Gerald Celente invented the term “Interactive-U” to describe the yet-to-be-born online education business. He was years ahead of his time. Remember, when he wrote the book in 1995, the Internet was rudimentary. While the U.S. is way behind the on-line education curve compared to many other nations, which are graduating tens of thousands of students yearly, it is beginning to catch up.
Status: Within the past few years, open source learning platforms that provide free online tools for institutions have been rapidly expanding. Most recently, Stanford University announced it will collaborate with edX, the nonprofit online learning enterprise founded by Harvard and MIT. Stanford will provide a range of platforms for faculty to choose from in hosting their coursework. The effort will include partnerships with Coursera, Venture Lab and other providers.
But opposition is growing among college faculty, who claim that students miss benefits from in-class learning, while also fearing that online course availability will threaten their jobs. Regardless of efforts to reverse the trend, the future in learning is online.
Prediction: The successful businesses of the Global Age will practice a compassionate capitalism. Money will be made by products and services that satisfy a world with changed values.
Result: This turned out to be wishful thinking. The New Age trend was in full swing. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream was all the rage for their social responsibility and environmental awareness. Clinton/Gore were recently elected. There was a belief that with Baby Boomers in the White House, more advanced thinking would replace the old-guard mentality.
Status: Ben and Jerry’s was bought by the Anglo-Dutch multinational, Unilever. Clinton/Gore sold out the nation’s jobs with NAFTA, deregulated the communications and banking industries, and started wars. Any time Clinton got in trouble at home he’d launch cruise missiles against “terrorists” in foreign lands.
And the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y., a bastion of the New Age movement, recently featured Bill Clinton as a speaker with great fanfare.