In case you hadn’t noticed, the fortune-tellers and trend-spotters are falling behind. This is a problem. Life is moving so fast, they just can’t keep up. That’s not good news for you and me because we won’t have any trendy words for what we are experiencing.
I learned this in October when I saw the cover of Business Week on my way to catch a plane at Love Field in Dallas. The magazine announced “the new age of frugality.”
I saw the magazine at the airport rather than my home reading pile because, well, I had allowed my subscription to lapse as part of my plan for more careful spending…
So let’s not waste any further time. Let’s get right into my Fearless Forecasts.
- Herb Kelleher will save our retirements. The retired prime mover at Southwest Airlines will fulfill my lifelong retirement dream. He will allow me to start a bar of my own by redeeming hundreds of unused Southwest Airlines free drink coupons for tiny bottles, so I can sustain my old age quenching the thirst of travelers. Soon hundreds, thousands, even millions of retirees will follow, redeeming their own drink coupon collections for their mobile Irish bar kits. Wal-Mart will expand the program, giving new life to the role of greeters.
- No dark cloud is without an opportunity. Early 2009 will see the launch of Foreclosure Living magazine, a new glossy for America’s fastest growing new demographic. The new magazine will feature stories on the pleasures of prolonging foreclosure, how much money you can make from a foreclosure and chic things you can do while waiting for eviction. The editors of Architectural Digest will say the new magazine is in bad taste, but the brassy editors of Foreclosure Living will note that multimillion-dollar houses are in bad taste when thousands are homeless.
- Cerberus will take over GM and Ford. This will happen because it’s the only poetic thing to do. After all, if the gates of hell are guarded by a three-headed dog named Cerberus, what better name could we have for a three-headed dog that guards the gates to Detroit?
- A Sarah Brightman hit will ring through the hallways of nursing homes. “Who Wants to Live Forever?” will achieve the same ubiquity there, however belated, that Celine Dion’s “Immortality” once brought to the corridors of Las Vegas.
- A global search for fabled engine of growth, the Lost Locomotive. Economists around the world will search for the suddenly famous “Lost Locomotive.” Famed for its ability to pull entire economies and known to have been located in the United States for decades before its sudden disappearance, the locomotive never showed up at its expected new location in China. This is a bit like the America’s Cup leaving the United States but never showing up in Australia, except that it’s a lot more important. Hands will be wrung.
- G.W. Bush will NOT relocate to Crawford, Texas. Disturbed by innuendoes that he is personally responsible for the loss of the locomotive, he will go on a global quest, promising to bring the locomotive back to America, where it belongs.
- The personal computer era will reach its zenith (if it hasn’t already done so). Sales of desktop and laptop computers will start to fall as millions of users realize that cell phones are smaller but do the same thing. Instead of talking about a “computer on a chip,” as we did in the late ‘70s, we’ll be talking about a “computer on a phone.”
- English, not Spanish, will become our second language. Not that Spanish will be first. Both languages will run distant seconds to “Thumbish,” the language of the tiny keyboard, the Spanglish of technological necessity.
- A new sign of political unity will appear. Our two major political parties will announce the formation of OTEC. Taking a page from OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and its ceaseless work to keep oil prices as high as possible, the Organization of Tax Extorting Conspiracies will become the vehicle through which the Democrats and Republicans work together to keep explicit and implicit taxes as high as possible. (Their theme song will be the Dire Straits oldie, “Money for Nothing.”)
On the web:Fearless Forecast Collection, 2000-2008
Business Week: The New Age of Frugality
Sarah Brightman singing “Who Wants to Live Forever” on youtube
Celine Dion singing “Immortality” on youtube
Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing” on youtube