Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Happy New Year...Forecast for 2009
Happy New Year everyone! The past year has just whizzed by even though it was quite an eventful one.
This year was chock full of political intrigue. Thank God the elections are over in the USA and we are now moving on with a new President elect. Any sane person hopes it is a positive change after 8 years of arguably the worst federal governance in my lifetime.
2008 will also go down as the worst year economically for both the USA and international markets since the Great Depression. Reality has finally caught up with credit happy consumers and governments. I should say "partial" reality, because I think 2009 will bring out significantly higher deficits and realities of how huge the international economic shenanigans really has been. While I know real estate and retail markets are down significantly in the USA, as I pass the New Year here in Las Vegas, I see plenty of people still traveling and spending in the malls AND the casinos. It’s not in the numbers they are used to...and with some of the deep discounting; it IS hard to resist buying at some of the significant price cuts we see from the retailers currently.
The keyword in my mind for 2009 is...CHANGE! I think we will see many changes this year...some for the good, others not. Some of the hopefully positive changes will be...
-Continued reality of woeful economics and lack of savings on the part of first world citizens will force many to rethink their priorities, cut back on spending, and go back to a cash economy.
-A new government administration in the USA at least as it looks so far should bring new and more intelligent leadership to the Federal government. Of course this could be a double edged sword as some of the ideas they have may not work or be detrimental in the long term. I do hope that in general the new government will follow through with their promise of pursuing détente and dialogue throughout the world versus solving all our crisis with the barrel of a gun. This approach has obviously not worked in the short or long term.
-Many people will be forced out of their current stagnation of thought and/or career with job losses/cutbacks forcing many people to rethink their short and long term strategies on career and lifestyle.
-Some people will recognize the need to read and understand the global issues in economics, climate and warfare and how all of this is impacting their financial and lifestyle positions. Hopefully more people will get their heads out of the TV media and more into books and deeper referential sources for understanding what is happening in their world currently.
Of course, some potentially negative changes continue to face us in this New Year:
-The masses continue to look for government controls over their lives, bigger government to cover their own lack of personal responsibility, and thereby the further destruction of personal freedoms, democracy and capitalism. These will be replaced by socialism, legislated morality instead of true morality, and increased antipathy on the part of individuals to control their own destinies.
-Socialistic changes will cause more rich and independent citizens to look for escapes for their money and lifestyles. More money and people will flow to offshore and emerging markets. More walls will be built between the haves and the have nots. The chasm between the two will continue to increase.
-During times of increased uncertainty, more people will turn to mystic religions versus struggling with difficult realities. There will be more fundamentalism fueling domestic and international conflicts of reason and actual warfare internationally will increase because of this.
-There will be less money for new technologies and "green" lifestyle pursuits. Human desperation will promote short term objectives for relief versus focus on long term struggles and solutions for climate change, dependency on fossil fuels and humanitarian aid.
To sum all this up in abbreviated form, I think 2009 will be a mixed bag of tricks. We will hopefully see some creative thinking and new ideas germinating from the current crisis of leadership and economics. We humans ARE sometimes resilient...and the current crisis globally will be a test of whether current generations are up to the challenge of solving some significant problems. Economics are at the core of everything of course, so let’s hope people both in government and the private sector are able to reshape our financial picture. We each need to do our part in this.
Personally, I will be very focused on building business and I think we will see a lot more people looking to invest and even move to emerging Latin American countries that we are operating in. I also will continue to focus on humanitarian efforts. We have local initiatives to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and we hope to increase those activities this New Year. We all need a balance between pursuing success and sharing success. If both individuals and governments can keep a reasonable balance between getting and giving...the whole world has a chance to grow, prosper and use information and money for GOOD. That is our current hope for the New Year.
Peace and prosperity to all this New Year!