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The Shift Age Newsletter



[ This title is an obvious play on the famous 1992 presidential campaign statement by James Carville: “It’s the economy, stupid” ]

It has been a year since I first wrote that the Great Recession of 2008-2010 was a reorganizational recession. Humanity is in transition between two ages, the Information Age and the Shift Age. There is always extreme disruption during such times. Think of the American Civil War as the final disruption between the Agricultural Age and the Industrial Age in the US. The industrial North defeated the Agricultural South and the industrialization of the country took off. Then again in the 1970s, the decade of transition between the Industrial Age and the Information Age there was disruptive economic occurrences – stagflation and the quintupling of oil prices – that created the two worst post WWII recessions until the current one.

It is interesting to note that the two recessions of the last age transition time, the 1973-75 and the 1980-82 recessions are the only ones that correlate to the current recession. Why? They happen during this transition between two ages. The research section of the current Shift Age Trend Report (see below for details as to how to get a free copy of Volume 1) shows the great similarity between the current recession and the one from 1980-82.

Why am I writing this? Well, a year ago I said that thrift would be the new cool, that the decades long economic trend line of the US economy relying on consumer spending for growth was over, that unemployment would be 9-11% by the end of 2009 (later revised to 10-11% in the Trend Report) and that Americans – and many people around the world – had been scarred during the last six months of last year which would result in a dramatic increase in savings rates. Well all of these forecasts were correct.

Why am I writing about this again after discussing this topic in both Newsletter #1 and #4? Well, I am constantly annoyed when new negative retail sales reports come out and the article or newscast states this report “surprised experts”. I am astounded by the ongoing surprise by most economists to the growing unemployment numbers. What are they looking at that would make them surprised? At the beginning of the year the Federal Reserve forecast unemployment topping out a bit above 8%. Just the other day Alan Greenspan decided that there might be more unemployment taking the rate above 10%. Really! That is what this writer has been saying for more than a year.

As a futurist, it is a problem I have written about before, that of living an odd sort of “déjà vu” life. A year after I forecast severely restrained consumer spending, thrift being practiced everywhere and unemployment crossing 10% these events or trends become front page news. When my forecasts become reality it feels like I am reliving them while everyone else is “surprised” or “unsettled”. The simple fact is that I look at macro trends, that I am not attached to any particular economic school of thought and that I see historical forces at work. Most of the “experts” are lost in either the details or in defending points of view.

Attachment to views is the single greatest impediment to seeing clearly. That said, the view from here is that we are in transition from one age to a new age and that this recession is therefore a disruptive and reorganizational one. As a reader of this newsletter, I ask you to look at the economic landscape through this filter and it will start to make sense.

[ Note to those that have not been regular readers of the www.davidhoule.com/evolutionshift-blog/ blog, to the right of this column are some of the columns where I have made economic forecasts over the past year. ]

The Rio Olympics

[ As someone who lives in Chicago, I had to live with the home town hype of civil boosterism that lead many people in the city to actually think that Chicago had a chance to land the 2016 Olympics. It even started to affect my thinking, as everywhere the hype machine was at work.

All along I thought that Rio would probably get the games. Not only did their proposal top out at $14.4 billion, or four times as much as Chicago, but, there has never been an Olympics in South America. That fact alone gave Rio the lead out of the gate, one they obviously never relinquished.

I know a number of subscribers to this newsletter are not regular readers of the www.davidhoule.com/evolutionshift-blog/ blog. With that in mind, what follows is the recent column from there about Rio winning the 2016 Olympics. I have it here as it has been such a topic of conversation and it is also, as the column below suggests, a true directional signpost for the 21st century. ]

The Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics are the first true Shift Age Olympics. While the Beijing Olympics were the first of this new age, the Rio Olympics were the first selected in the Shift Age. The Rio Olympics point to the fact that we are not only in the global stage of human evolution, but that the major players of the 21st century will different than those of the 20th.

In the past two years, I have spoken all across North America about the fact that it is not just China and India that will rise in influence in this new century but that Brazil will also be a central player. Brazil has been called “a country of the future” for decades. That future is now. They are the fifth largest country in the world both in population and size. Depending on the source they are either the 8th, or 10th largest economy. My forecast is that they will become the 5th largest economy in the next 10-15 years so they will be triple fives.

It was of course inevitable that Rio win the Olympics. South America has never hosted an Olympics, a fact that says a lot about the 20th century in addition to the politics of the euro-centric IOC. This was a powerful argument in and of itself. What really won the competition, is that the Brazilian proposal was valued at $14.4 billion dollars, three times the amount of the Chicago bid. It is this $14.4 billion that will in part address the poverty, crime and infrastructure needs of Rio. If graft can be avoided, always an issue historically in Latin America, there is a real chance that this expenditure can directly address the city’s social and economic short comings.

More than three years ago, in a column about the World Cup, I pointed out that everything is moving toward a global organization. Economics comes first, followed by culture and politics. The selection of Rio is an exclamation point to that. The future of humanity in this new century will be a global future, not a continuation of the European and North American lead 21st century.

Last March, after a speaking trip to Brazil, I wrote two columns about how a vision created a “capital for the 21st century“. Then, last summer I pointed out that the future of Detroit could be seen in Brazil. Simply put, looking at Brazil is one way to see the future. The impact that Brazil has had on the world stage over the past 50 years will be dwarfed by the impact the country will play globally between now and 2050. They will lead with culture, closely followed by economics.

The transition from the Information Age to the Shift Age is accelerating. The Shift Age is the global stage of human evolution. The word globalization has, up to now, been an economic term. It is now also about culture and politics. Rio winning the Olympics is just another signpost.

Welcome to the 21st century, the Shift Age and the global stage of human evolution.

The Shift Age Trend Report

Thank you to all of you who have subscribed to the new Shift Age Trend Report. I appreciate all the positive feedback. Since the reactions have been so positive I thought I would provide those of you who have not subscribed with a free download of Volume 1.

I have set up a free download web site that is password protected. When you type in the url you will be asked for a username and password. Here is the information:

Web site: www.theshiftagetrendreport.com

Username: DavidHoule

Password: ShiftAge no space, case sensitive

If you do not yet have the free Adobe 9 software there is a link under the ‘free download’ bar to click to get it. You will need it to experience the state of the art interactivity of the Trend Report.

There is also a time sensitive $50 subscription discount at the top of the download. If you like the Shift Age Trend Report, I hope you will take advantage of this offer and become a subscriber.