Friday, June 09, 2006

Extreme Economic Gloom and Doom

According to a number of different sources, the US economy is going to have its bottom fall out somewhere around 2010 due to a variety of reasons that are converging all around that same time:
  • Massive trade deficit, soaring personal and government debt, a housing bubble, runaway military expenditures, and skyrocketing healthcare costs with employers' insurance plans covering less and less these days (the usual)

  • Globalization 3.0 and the commoditization of knowledge-work & knowledge-workers

  • Peak oil supply will have been breached (some say it has already, others say it will happen anywhere between 2004 and 2010), resulting in soaring oil prices (far more than they are today) and the race for efficient mass production & distribution of low-cost alternative energy sources

  • Retirement of the "baby-boom" generation (starting in 2007 and peaking between 2010-2020) and its impact upon social security reserves (because of ERISA) and US supply of knowledge-workers

  • Global warming and depletion of the environment will reach the point of no return sometime between 2010 and 202o (if you believe Al Gore in the recent documentary "An Inconvenient Truth")

  • Likelihood of global pandemic flu (possibly bird-flu, but possibly any other kind of flu) happening within the next 5-10 years, and its global impact on medical and industrial/business supply chains (how far away will we be from harnessing nano-biotechnonology when it hits?)

I gleaned all of this just from browsing a bunch of books on, like the following:

There are LOTS more saying the same things. On the other hand, a few authors hold out hope that we will finally focus on some of the right things (like the environment and alternative energy sources, and turning to nature itself for innovation):

These things are all converging together (coming to a "head") within the next 10 years. I wonder what the state of Agility will be like then ...
  • Will little/no inventory be desirable amidst the threat of global supply chain disruptions due to pandemic health crisis?
  • Or will agile business partnerships and the resulting "agile business ecosystems" somehow be "autonomic" by that time.
  • As for oil and transportation, might not the threat of pandemic flu end up fueling "virtual" travel and telecommuting?
  • Or will that just give people more time to use their cars for non-work reasons.
  • Who will want to go to the mall or the grocery store if they're worried about contracting life-threatening illnesses?
  • What about emerging markets that are going to "boom" but haven't yet? (Many say nanotechnology and biotechnology will do this eventually - but when?)

I won't be eligible for retirement for ~30 years, and within ~15 years I want to be able to finance a college education for my two children (less than 2 years apart in age). All this sort of makes me want to say "Beam me up Scottie!", or "Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill!"

1 comment:

telemann said...

I liked the fact that the analysis of the U.S.'s economic future drew on both pessimistic and optimistic books. An independent analysis that I am trying to launch in book form leans toward the former on the basis of relationships that have only been hinted at by Leeb and Strathy's book. It leaves room for a turnaround but only if . . .

Regards T.