The more fearless the prediction, the more likely it will happen. We have learned this over the years. Last year you and I were the Only Hope of keeping the domestic, world, and intergalactic economy in motion. Our predicted mantra was "Less talking, more shopping."

We're still the Only Hope in 2002. It's a heavy burden, but I know we're up to it.

•  Shopping Will Be Recognized As the Cornerstone of World Civilization.   Conspicuously absent from future-talk will be any mention of fly-by-night sources of hope like technology and innovation. In an unusual bi-partisan move, Senator Tom Daschle and President George W. Bush will urge consumers to spend still more. They will issue a joint statement: "Don't ask what Wal-Mart can do for you, ask what you can do for Wal-Mart."

•  Phone Lines and Cable Connections Will Decrease for the First Time Ever. By the end of the year Americans will long to achieve third world telephone service. Current service comparing poorly to what is available in Uganda. ATT will announce a devastating loss of customers for both phone and cable service but the problem will be overstated--- they only counted customers they billed, not the many customers they served but neglected to bill. Ham radio will boom. Millions of Americans will realize the only way to avoid relentless solicitation for long distance phone services is to eliminate phone service.

  A New Mutual Fund Category Will Be Launched. An obscure mutual fund company in Utah will launch The Coffee Can Fund. It will attract billions in assets within months of launch. It will quickly dominate the cash flow of the nation's 401(k) plans. Avoiding international and domestic equities, the fund will collect money instruments ranging from quarters to $100 bills. It will keep them in a secure vault. Fund shareholders can enter their account number and see their actual investment displayed by way of a web-cam connection to the vault. Not to be outdone, Fidelity will launch the Mattress fund, offered in firm, regular, or soft.

•  The Investment-Most-Like-Saturation-Bombing Award Will Be Hotly Contested.   It may also require some new rules, since many of the most likely candidates don't exist anymore. With the average technology mutual fund down 32 percent in 2000 and still more in 2001 it's very clear that technology investing will take the prize.

•  The CDC Will Announce a Way to Eliminate 95 Percent of All Anthrax Risk.   The Center for Disease Control, recognizing the Anthrax threat from unsolicited credit card offers and catalogs that celebrate Christmas at least six times between Halloween and New Years Day, will offer public instruction on how to eliminate junk mail.

•  A Peculiar Discounting Will Be Noticed in the Stock Market.   As the year progresses and the Enron disaster unfolds, certain stocks will suffer inexplicable declines in value. The declines will happen in unrelated industries without any apparent pattern. Late in the year, an analyst will note that the only thing shared by all the discounted stocks is that they share the same Auditor--- Arthur Anderson, the auditor employed by Enron.

•  Miss Manners Will Ask the Captains of Industry a Rude Question. "Where is your ship, sir?"   As the number of corporate disasters increases, more will wonder why corporate officers choose to abandon ship ahead of passengers and crew---particularly when they feel compelled to take the only lifeboat.   A once fawning press will start to observe that American top management has bungled both its investment decisions as well as its handling of people.

•  Athletic Stadiums Will Be Named After Lottery Winners. After experiencing the embarrassment and distress of disappearing corporate sponsors, major cities will appeal to their state legislatures for financial help. Faced with renaming stadiums after long dead (but stable) people or deriving some financial benefit from the names of the stadiums, the legislatures will announce a new Lottery that names the stadium after the Lottery winner--- in lieu of paying the lottery winner.

If you're worried about 2002 just remember one thing. It's only money. Almost everything else is more important.