"What makes you say that?" How I make predictions about the immediate future. A briefing from Futurist Chet W. Sisk
Speaking at a luncheon with the Apartment Association of Denver last fall, I made the prediction that we would be talking about a recession within 18 months. Eight months later, here is one of this week's headlines:
Frankly, predicting a recession or an economic slowdown is low hanging fruit for most Futurists. The economy, as it is structured, works in cycles. These are not natural cycles, but artificially created, and often stimulated by bad decision making. The heavy lifting in Futurism is in understanding how trends come together and how they will impact society. and the world, on the whole. To get to that understanding, I go to three sources: trends in investments, legislative/regulatory direction and social developments. In our society as it is currently structured, where money goes provides a pretty good indicator of where the country is headed.. Legislation and regulation usually follow the money because legislators have a close relationship with the money people. Then, the social impact of this energy comes after that. Here are sources I check out almost every single morning to follow these three areas.....
Investor's Business Daily
Wall Street Journal
National Conference of State Legislatures
The Washington Post
The Young Turks
South China Morning Post
The Daily Beast
Often times, it's more if I wish to follow a story down a rabbit hole of links. It's a good mixture of conservative and progressive, news and entertainment, business and science, pop and government, spiritual and religious. The real challenge of aggregating this information is making sense of it all...looking for repeated messages from various writers , reporters and data, then coming to a simple, tangible prediction.
For example, I saw five different sources that pointed to re-insurers (those that insure insurance companies) are raising their rates for insurance companies because their forecasts see climate change causing even more crises around the world. The recent historic flooding in the American Midwest and in Zimbabwe may have spurred this action. That means insurance rates will go up for everyone as insurance companies pass the increase down to you. From my intuitive self, based on information I've gathered earlier, this also means it's going to become more and more expensive to live along the coasts or in wooded areas. In my mind, this fuels in-country mass migration for the middle class and working poor who don't have those resources and also for the very rich who DO have those resources and can afford to simply leave.
I also saw the dairy industry seeking more precise legislation to slow down the growth of plant based milk-alternatives. They want to keep Almond, Rice and Soy milk producers from using the term "milk" in their branding. The dairy industry sees this as hurting their business. It's true --- dairy milk producers market share has taken a dramatic dip while plant based alternatives have surged., but name branding isn't the only reason. More people are concerned about digesting cow's milk as part of a healthy diet. This could mean lower milk prices as the dairy industry will seek to compete. It could also mean higher prices as the dairy industry seek to make up their losses.
It's one thing to get information. It's another thing to interpret what that information means to the average person now and in the future. That's my job. Sometimes I miss it. Part of the occupational hazard. But it's important that we get clear, thoughtful analysis in an age of "fake news". My job is a mixture of formal journalism training, metrics analysis and intuition. I hope this helps those of you who were wondering "what makes you say that?"
Chet W. Sisk is an author and one of the world's leading Social Futurists. He is also expert on the current world paradigm shift. Find out more about him and the LEAD Global Team at www.leadtheshift.com or you can write him directly at email@example.com