Among the highlights of Gerald Celente and the Trends Research Institute’s “History Before it Happens” Conference — held Aug. 1-3 at the institute’s headquarters in Colonial Kingston — was Celente’s Keynote Address. Afterwards, some 40 participants, representing five countries, enjoyed the rare opportunity to directly query one of the world’s most noted trend forecasters.
“It’s been so enlightening,” said Roseanne Bruno of New Jersey, who came to the conference with her husband. “Gerald really tells it like it is.”
Among the questions asked and answered:
You often talk about real estate as an investment. What about rural land? Is it a smart investment?
“It’s a good investment if you’re going to put it to productive use,” Celente responded, taking into account his prediction that the demand for clean, healthy, GMO- and chemical-free food will only increase. He advised that the local climate needed to be carefully considered and stressed that it’s important to, “Invest with a purpose, not just for a profit.”
How about real estate in general? What about malls?
“New mortgage applications are down, but the smart buyer is always there… Real estate is cyclical. It will come back up.”
The golden age of the American shopping center, however, is waning, says Celente. “The pall in the mall is driven, like many trends, by the aging of the US population. Baby Boomers have an affinity for downtown shopping environments and, in addition, traditional mall retailers have failed to recognize boomer buying power. Add to that a middle class that can no longer afford the products designed especially for them by so many big box outlets. The retail sector is overbuilt. In this economy, people simply can’t afford to shop like they once did. The ‘shop until you drop’ craze that was designed for them is essentially over.”
The alternative on the horizon, particularly as boomers age, is, “small cities that have the essential assets, products and qualities that will appeal to an active aging population. They can capitalize on this trend. Aging boomers want to be close to the activities and services central to their lives. To be able to shop, play and engage your community without driving will be a huge lure.”
So much of the world remains dependent on fossil fuels. What’s the future of energy?
“There is no reason in the world we don’t already have alternative energy,” Celente said, “other than the fact that fossil fuels remain profitable and are a source of great global influence. It’s a joke. They don’t want to develop alternative energy sources because they, the oil companies and the politicians who support them, are in control. They want oil to be depended upon. Alternative energy sources are a direct threat to their bottom line.”
And oil’s influence is vast. “Would we have invaded Iraq if their top export was broccoli?” Celente wondered aloud. “If we invested long term in alternative energy it would be a whole different show. World politics would completely change.”
You talk about interest rates and how, as interest rates rise, economies can begin to collapse.
“It’s a natural fact. When money gets tight it costs more to get. It’s a simple equation: the only thing keeping the recovery alive is low interest rates. When the rates go up, the economy will go down.”
Where are all the gold bars?
“You tell me. First, I believe gold prices are being manipulated, just as Libor and Forex are. Those are facts, not a conspiracy theory. The government tells us that there’s an ample supply of gold to back the paper trades. But where is it? There’s more paper gold than there is real gold, which could be why they won’t let us look inside Fort Knox. The last time they showed us what’s in there was in 1953.”
And what will happen when interest rates skyrocket, if there’s hyper-inflation?
“There will be short term panic, and then everybody gets used to it… Unless they rebel.”