Chapter 4 of our new free eBook, ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’, does just this.
It offers 10 predictions about how the world will look in 2021:
1. Young and old will be focused on ‘needs’ rather than ‘wants’.
2. A major shake-out will have occurred in Western consumer markets.
3. Housing will no longer be seen as an investment.
4. In emerging economies, companies will have recognised that the phrase ‘middle-class’ doesn’t define people with Western income levels.
5. Chemical markets will have become more regional.
6. Western countries will have increased the retirement age beyond 65 to reduce unsustainable pension liabilities.
7. Taxation will have been increased to tackle the public debt issue.
8. Social unrest will have become a more regular part of the landscape.
9. Consumers will look for value-for-money and sustainable solutions.
10. Investors will focus more on ‘return of capital’ than ‘return on capital’.
The New Normal offers the potential to restore a greater balance to society if companies refocus their creativity and resources on real needs.
There is also an urgent need for companies to focus on basic research to tackle these needs, rather than simply taking government grants to deploy old technologies.
The transition to the New Normal will be a difficult time. The world will be less comfortable and less assured for many millions of Westerners.
The wider population will find itself following the model of the ageing boomers, consuming less and saving more. Rather than expecting their assets to grow magically in value every year, they may find themselves struggling to pay-down debt left over from the credit binge.
More engineers and more scientists are going to be required to create the new products that will serve needs arising from the megatrends.
We will also need to find politicians with sufficient vision to sell the need for hardship and long-term struggle. This will be difficult, given that voters have become used to having all their wants met via quick ‘fixes’ of increased debt.
We could instead decide to ignore all of this potential unpleasantness.
But doing nothing is not a solution. It will mean we miss the opportunity to create a new wave of global growth from the megatrends. And we will instead end up with even more uncomfortable outcomes.