The year 2008 will obviously go down as one of the most eventful years in recent history. It was the year that Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. It was the year that the Internet replaced print and TV as the driving force in a presidential election. It was the beginning of the end of 15 years of divisive cultural politics in America.
2008 was the year of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. This collapse was the first one since the beginning of the new global economy and thus showed how humanity and all of its nation states are financially interconnected in a historically unprecedented way. This global financial collapse is historically significant for several reasons. First it did show that money and finance knows no national boundaries, and that nation states can no longer individually deal with major financial crises. Second it is the start of the process to cleanse the global and particularly U.S economy from over leveraged, debt oriented mindless growth and consumption that has been a result of the mindless support of unlimited growth without thought of personal, national and global consequences. Third it represents a clear albeit disruptive and painful part of the transition that humanity is now making from one age, the Information Age, to the new age, the Shift Age.
2008 was the year when people around the world, and most strikingly Americans, make a sudden and profound switch from consumption, debt and spending to, thrift, saving and shedding of debt whenever possible. As written here months ago, “Thrift is the new hip, thrift is the new extravagance”, It is and will be cool to shop at resale stores, drive cars years longer, save money, and in general to embrace the thrift lifestyle. This trend, along with the collapse in the price of oil has ushered in a time of both economic contraction and monetary deflation. Think about it, what costs more today than it did a year ago? Not much.
2008 was, in the first half the seeming beginning of peak oil and in the second half a realization that this peak situation, while still real, will be drawn out a few years longer than was thought as recently as 2-3 years ago. Oil, and gasoline will go up from its current price in 2009, but not enough to shock the system, just enough in underscore to the consumer the need to be thrifty elsewhere in their spending.
2008 was the year when it seemed that the critical mass thinking about global warming that occurred in 2006 reached a level of massive acceptance. The age old exercise about talking about the weather took on new meaning this year. If we all had the sensitivity to the earth that the Native Americans had centuries ago we would be hearing the earth and the spirits of the planet telling us clearly that all is not well.
This is the last column of this incredibly eventful year. I deeply thank all of you who have been loyal readers of www.evolutionshift.com during its almost three years in existence. Your support and comments over this time period has meant a lot to me. Thank you. I also acknowledge all of the new readers who have come to this site during 2008. The readership has grown significantly this past year, both in the U.S. and around the world. It makes no difference whether you came here because of hearing me speak, a recommendation from a friend or favorite blog, or just because in this time of upheaval you wanted something to read that might provoke clarity about what might seem like an uncertain future. You are here, I thank you for that, and will strive to give you thought provoking columns in 2009.
The next couple of columns, in the New Year, will be my annual forecasts for the year. 2009 will not be a respite from the turbulence of 2008, it will be a continuation, an expansion and the beginning of the new directions that humanity is going to take in the years ahead. Our journey together is changing course. Happy New Year!