Our Top Trends for 2013, revisited

When we launched a series of improvements to our Trends Journal last summer, we promised you we would hold ourselves accountable for the forecasts we made and the quality and accuracy of our analyses. Here’s a look back at what we forecast a year ago and how we did. — Trends Research Institute staff

The 1st Great War of the 21st Century

OUTCOME:  We have warned that all that is needed to engulf the world in war is an Archduke Ferdinand moment, a flashpoint. This past June, when U.S. President Obama declared that the Assad government in Syria had crossed the “red line,” and the U.S. was ready to launch a missile attack, that could have been the spark. But with the majority of Americans opposed to more war, his lacking Congressional and international support, and with a deal cut by Russia for Syria to dispose of its chemical weapons, war was avoided. One year later, the Financial Times is making world headlines with its editorial, “Reflections on the Great War,” which is essentially making our case that socioeconomic and geopolitical conditions of today are similar in nature to those that prevailed before the outbreak of WWI. See “Wake Up Call” in this edition for 2014’s forecast.

On the Road to Financial Collapse

OUTCOME: Last October, China responded to the continual outpouring of newly-created dollars to finance the outpouring of new U.S. federal debt with a call to “de-Americanize” the world. It announced that China would cease accumulating more dollars.  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) are organizing to abandon the use of the U.S. dollar as world reserve currency. With its gold supply diminishing, the Federal Reserve is running out of means to keep its printing press from driving down the dollar’s value. This could be the year that the Fed’s printing press dethrones the dollar.

Gerald Celente’s Four Rules of Peace 

OUTCOME: This was more of a plan than a forecast. We outlined how, by following four practical rules for peace, economies would be reinvigorated and the nature of civilization would be advanced. We told subscribers that if they didn’t believe in the plan they could cancel their subscription within 60 days and get a full refund. We didn’t get one cancellation for that reason. The people want peace; it’s the politicians and military that take us to war. The latest Pew Research  poll found that support among Americans for global engagement is at a 40-year low.

The Great Awakening

OUTCOME: We forecast that just as it was “The Great Awakening” that ignited the American Revolution, we would see strong evidence of Americans again awakening to the realization that the future is in their hands. The proof is in the numbers. According to The Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey, 7 in 10 voters do not have any confidence in the government “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.” Over 50 percent called for a complete “government overhaul.” They’ve awakened.

Recession Progression

OUTCOME: Thomas Naylor, who penned the piece and was a driving force of secession in the United States, died of a stroke just days after writing that trend forecast. With his passing, the movement in America has dramatically slowed. The big test abroad this year will be whether Scotland will finally break away from Mother England, and Catalonia from Spain. Stay tuned.

New Millennium Education

OUTCOME: Going back to early 1990’s (when Al Gore invented the Internet), we had written about the big megatrend we called “Interactive U,” a.k.a. on-line learning.
The future has arrived. Virtual classrooms and digital educational tools are being rapidly integrated into both schools and for the home schooled. What’s next? And why is still a top trend? See “digital learning” in this edition.

Safe Food

OUTCOME: Despite the defeat of “Right-to-Know Genetically Engineered Food” referendums in California and Washington State, the buy-local, farm-to-table and safe-food/clean-food trends escalated worldwide. We forecast an increase in contaminated food reports from around the world, shortages of organic products and a steadily growing base of educated consumers shifting buying and eating habits from quantity to quality. Clearly, we were right.

Energy 2013: The Year of the Frack

OUTCOME: Trends Journal Science Editor Ben Daviss wrote one of the most extensive, comprehensive and well balanced forecast analysis and strategy implementation piece on this subject at the time:  “Hydrofracking: The Devil is in the Details.”
This trend forecast is as close to “Fracking” perfect as could be humanly possible.

Party Time

OUTCOME: We had predicted that with the tough economic times, as in the 1930’s, the young and young at heart would pack up all their cares and woes, dress up, put on their dancing shoes and go out and “boogie before the lights go out.” We got it wrong. The cats can’t boogie, hipsters ain’t hip and geeks ain’t chic.   Style, elegance and grace aren’t in their DNA.
America has gone from Ella Fitzgerald to Miley Cyrus, from Frank Sinatra to Justin Bieber, from Billy Holiday to Nicki Minaj.

Generation Eff’d

OUTCOME: We saw the Millennial generation, a 70-million strong demographic segment (born between 1980 and 2000), as Generation Eff’d because they were in 2013, and even more so now, facing a bleak future and an economy of constraints.
Our forecast was dead on. From what they would need, to how they would spend their time, to how they would spend their money, this 2013 analysis was deeply relevant.

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