2014: What If The Unexpected Happens?
Key Trends – Zeitgeist and Anthropology
London, UK - 28th December 2013, 18:35 GMT
Based on the ATCA 5000 poll of key distinguished members in more than 150 countries around the world -- carried out by the mi2g Intelligence Unit in London -- we present to you the uncensored collective consciousness in regard to what are perceived to be the key trends for 2014 under the categories of Opposites, Opportunities, Autonomy, Climate Chaos, New Financial Paradigms and Cultural Metamorphosis. We trust this will start an enduring Socratic dialogue leading to concrete executive decisions amongst our distinguished members and the global community of world leaders, business decision makers and ordinary citizens to build a more equitable world in 2014 and beyond.
2014 is likely to be a year of Opposites:
a) Moving forwards in the digital world and moving backwards in the analogue world;
b) Balancing business and personal life becomes a key challenge whilst distinguishing between the increasingly blurred work and home-life boundaries;
c) Emotional and social ups and downs and coping with roller-coaster extreme mood swings within others and oneself;
d) Periods of fast moving complexity punctuated by periods of relative calm – every state of existence becoming more and more ephemeral;
e) Bouts of conflict and peace on several fronts: domestic, communal, regional, national and international; and
f) The key battles at the highest level amongst nation-state and non-nation-state actors are for access to energy and natural resources whilst controlling and coping with enhanced life expectancy.
2014: Zeitgeist and Anthropology
Some industries are likely to continue to grow very fast as we get ever closer to entering the 21st century Bio-Info-Nano (BIN) matrix:
a) Machine-to-machine (M2M) interface or the internet of everything and the cross-coupling of mobile devices and everyday objects in wireless Peer-to-Peer (P2P) mode;
b) Ultra powerful Quantum Computing, Quantum Cryptography, Quantum Communications, Quantum Energy Devices, Quantum Healing and Quantum Healthcare applications;
c) 3D printing becomes more accessible and gets closer to becoming mainstream thereby eliminating the competitive advantage of China and other simple-product based exporters;
d) Domestic robots, robotic prosthetic limbs using automatic mind control and a step-by-step rise of more-and-more artificially intelligent and highly efficient machines;
e) Alternative power sources become more mainstream including greater use of green technologies: solar power plants, rooftop solar panels, wind farms, geothermal systems, hydrogen power plants and recycling waste-to-energy solutions alongside conventional local power generation using fossil fuels to cope with prolonged power outages;
f) Certain medical areas which increase life expectancy such as regenerative medicine and healing technologies based on growing stem cells, new bones and new cartilage;
g) Breakthroughs in oceanography and our understanding of the sea including the not-so-welcome exploitation of the 'North Pole' Arctic zone for energy and minerals;
h) Growth in certain clean food industries, locally grown food, food preservation, catering and food technology as greater research is undertaken and more emphasis is placed on nutrition and diet;
i) New types of food outlets and digitally-enabled restaurants with innovative and quick-turnaround services and bespoke food preparation;
j) Traditional newspapers rendered increasingly obsolete by new forms of media where the people are the reporters, not the controlling few who sift through the news and may keep everybody relatively uninformed or perhaps fulfil corporate agendas of their advertisers and sponsors; and
k) Although more of a long term threat than a short term opportunity, the real elephant in the room is the increasing level of distraction that society generates for itself via the innovation and invention of ever more sophisticated technological ways for consuming, shopping and buying more and more new products and services for which there is an insatiable appetite but a scarcity of natural resources on this planet.
a) People’s aspiration for autonomy and sovereignty is increasing everywhere:
• More people power and transparency using smart mobile telephones with built-in powerful cameras;
• Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Whatsapp etc that enable Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks (SADNs);
• Instantaneous insurrections with fast evolving and fading trends;
class="tab1"• Transference of power ultimately from corporations to consumers step-by-step and also perhaps from government agencies to citizens;
b) At the same time, governments -- and unfortunately renegade crime syndicates and triads -- are garnering ever greater access to citizens’ privacy and legitimate business details including:
• Having the precise knowledge of location, ie, where specifically a person and their family, friends and colleagues are at any given moment;
• Accessing private emails, digital files and monitoring phone conversations; as well as
• Collecting financial details from offshore and onshore locations without hindrance;
c) Cyber-reconnaissance-and-surveillance as well as offensive and defensive cyber-warfare by sovereign and non-nation-state actors continue to increase exponentially as cyberspace becomes the most important battleground of the 21st century. Expect more denial-of-service-for-ransom and denial-of-service-for-theft blended attacks and business interruptions to mission critical systems alongside the large-scale theft of intellectual property and digital embezzlement of funds from bank accounts;
d) Rising difficulty for ordinary citizens to rely on governments systems -- as previous generations have done -- to provide safety, stability and security as systemic vulnerabilities escalate and government support systems are pushed to the brink because of unprecedented upheavals caused by climate chaos, social-fabric deterioration, new and complex financial and economic regulations and metropolitan polarity between the rich and the poor; and
e) Expect increasing technological zombification as almost all generations are plugged into the digital matrix via smart phones, smart televisions and other computing and gaming devices and ubiquitously tap and massage their tactile screens with sign-language type cryptic finger and hand movements almost reminiscent of some long lost tribe communicating esoterically with the world beyond.
Extreme weather patterns from very cold to very hot and frequent ice and water crises around the world as climate chaos worsens:
a) Expect ice storms and frequent flooding both in the East and the West, delivering instant third-world conditions, squalor or worse to parts of the population in the rich and poor nations alike;
b) More power outages, and for longer, leaving the aged, the infirm and children most at risk;
c) Rise of ever more complicated diseases including more virulent forms of the common cold, bird and swine flu, stomach bugs and allergies;
d) 1-in-100 year type damages caused by storms, typhoons, hurricanes and tsunamis become more frequent as humanity makes more adverse changes to the sustainability of the landscape and more of the population moves to new dwellings built in vulnerable low lying areas;
e) Excess water ingress in coastal areas coupled with amplified media coverage;
f) Fresh water purity and contamination issues caused not just by natural events including earthquakes, volcanoes and climate chaos but also man-made events like fracking-for-fuel and radioactive contamination;
g) Emergency and survival kits likely to become a necessity in areas most vulnerable to climate chaos in both rich and poor nations alike;
h) More failures of large insurance companies because of rising and unprecedented catastrophe claims; and
i) Refusal to provide insurance cover in so many areas of the world hitherto considered safe for human habitation and business operations.
NEW FINANCIAL PARADIGMS
a) Projection of increased confidence especially amongst many of the lawmakers and government agencies in our financial, economic and political systems' collective good health is probably premature. The global financial crisis which started in 2007/8 is not truly over and behind us especially if the monetary stimulus provided by the US Federal Reserve on a monthly basis is withdrawn at any moment;
b) All it takes is for short term interest rates to rise by 2% and the Sea-of-Debt Tsunami will not only be triggered once again but on this occasion it may be larger by several orders of magnitude because of the quadrillion dollar derivatives pyramid and the trillions-of-dollars strong additional debts undertaken during the financial crisis;
c) More QE or Quantitative Easing continues to mask the real pain by artificially levitating the global financial markets and associated assets like a strong drug which is needed continuously and in large doses to be effective. In September 2012, the US Federal Reserve embarked on QE3, another huge round of continuous borrowing and printing of money and that is likely to continue under their new chairman Janet Yellen. Watch out for withdrawal symptoms even as some half-hearted tapering is undertaken. The Fed’s balance sheet is still rising month-on-month and is poised to cross four trillion dollars beginning with a monetary base in 2007/8 below one trillion dollars. A 350+% increase in less than six years is not sustainable;
d) The bond yield curve is continuing to steepen and the short-term interest rates remain artificially low while the 10-year bond yields are now already touching 3% and may yet cross 4% and keep rising thereby causing the twin peaks of the sovereign and personal debt mountains to become more and more unsustainable in the near future;
e) The reality is that the next stage of this global financial and economic crisis could get much worse with:
• Multiple trans-national investigations of large scale banking corruption and fraud cases already in the pipeline involving household names;
• New compliance regulations increasing the cost of business both for clients and financial institutions as new bureaucratic layers are added and mispricing is replaced with higher prices;
• Higher unemployment, particularly rising youth unemployment, leading to more demonstrations, insurrections and civil unrest as the inequality between the haves and the have-nots continues to rise as a global phenomenon embracing both rich and poor countries with somewhat equal ferocity as 99% look at the 1% profiting from loose monetary policies;
f) There could be a continued upswing in the global economy based on the printing of money and artificial levitation. However, if the recovery does gather pace, it may be short-lived and by the middle of 2014 -- if there has been the perception of an improvement in the economy via the global financial markets and rising asset prices -- it is likely to be followed by a sharp drop at some stage within a year as:
• Multiple asset bubbles are pricked by rising interest rates that are ultimately linked to sovereign bond yields, which are already rising significantly in the 10-year and 30-year categories;
• Rising food and energy bills affect disposable income; and
• Stock market visible earnings of corporations continue to slide ever lower;
g) The Bitcoin craze is likely to blow up substantially but interest in cryptocurrencies, especially those that may be convertible into tangible physical assets, energy or commodities, may continue to rise as an alternative means of electronic payment across countries especially where:
• The national currency is not 100% convertible and restrictions remain in place in regard to exporting capital; and/or
• Confidence in the fiat currency's purchasing power is falling considerably because of over-printing of new money.
h) Electronic gold and silver prices are likely to remain very volatile with ever greater price manipulation strategies which manifest as lower and then much higher pricing on the financial markets. However, passion investments including fine art and design as well as certain commodities will continue to benefit from the flight away from digitally denominated paper assets towards the acquisition and storage of ultra high value physical assets in secure locations;
i) Financial markets are just a reflection of the ultimate quest for the ownership and control of in-demand natural resources, energy, products and services along with solutions which support the human-life-system and life-style. Some economists are forecasting a further upswing in certain major economies all the way through 2014. However, we should not be misled into thinking that the global financial crisis is totally behind us and that we can confidently invest with total security in the global financial markets. We have to learn to expect the unexpected and to recognise that because of high frequency trading and enormous dark pools of capital belonging to shadow banking entities we are always a hop and a skip away from significant chaos. We ought to expect greater volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets with wider swings from high to low than ever before as longer-dated bond yields continue to rise;
j) Increase in asymmetric and military threats especially in the Far East and potential wild cards in the Middle-East and South Asia: it could become explosive very suddenly in the South China Sea, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf or the Arabian Sea; and
k) Space exploration including probing the moon and other planets such as Mars -- continues not just by America and Europe but increasingly so by China, India and Japan along with the uncovering of greater knowledge about the availability of natural resources including rare earth metals and diverse energy sources as well as greater paranormal activity across the universe.
The key through all of these challenges is going to be compassion and love with people coming together and helping one another through the challenges. We can choose to make this a pleasurable and joyful time or we can make it even more difficult for ourselves. The choice is ours. We vote for helping one another, looking out for different and more innovative ways of doing things, sharing our knowledge and expertise, working together and creating a new, exciting and better future for all of us. In short, we need to move from a conflicted competitive society towards a collaborative harmonious society in order to come together not only to survive but to thrive in 2014 and beyond in a more equitable world! Happy New Year! Enjoy 2014!
What are your thoughts, observations and views? We are keen to listen and to learn.
D K Matai
ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats
Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded
in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective
Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom
based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence,
ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising
from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance;
geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced
technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews
and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic
risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership
of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished
members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians;
1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs;
750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors
and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major
The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over
1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices,
foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and
specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such
as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing
global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance
of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well
as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics.
Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection,
healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering
climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty
-- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more
responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation;
and Corporate and social responsibility.