Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Crystal Balls

by rg Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 05:43:06 AM EST

I try to understand the ins and outs of money up down production consumption demand destruction black holes value trust days not weeks not months imbalance wild fluctuations....

I ask those who are willing:

What do you think is going to happen in the world(s) of finance in 2009?

And: what do you think is going to happen in the world(s) of manufacturing?

All the critiques of what is going on are good, but I think it interesting to place some statements on the internet, the flipside of the critiques:

We have:

"This is what is going wrong"

Okay.  Now, how about:

"This is what I think will happen"

With all the caveats you like, but out of A,B,C,D...P...Z...., that might happen, what's your guess for 2009?

Saying what will happen (beyond that this crisis and its real-economy effects are far from over), is never better than a guess, and, imo, not a particularly useful type of information to put out on the Internets (except as, perhaps, an indicator of what people are guessing :-P).


  1. Will we be scraping a meagre, mediaeval-doom-pr0n living while fighting off marauding bands of well-armed itinerants ? No.

  2. Will I be glad of my vegetable patch? Yes.

  3. Will I go on working so that our local food association grows to allow people in need to join and get good-quality food for their families? Yes.

More to the point: if we don't develop more communal, collective, cooperative ways of doing things, and if we don't show widespread, angry refusal to accept the "economic" "policies" that got us into this "crisis", then the plutocrats will start the same ball rolling again with the aid of their financial wizards, pundits, journalists, and politicians.

Which is why, to me, it is more useful to identify what is wrong and what led to it, than to make guesses about what might or might not happen in the future.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 07:29:52 AM EST
I think I know too little to make a reasonable stab at imagining what's going to happen in 2009.  No posts are to be taken as anything more than an individual's guess.

If no one wants to guess, that's fine--but I'm interested to read them if anyone is willing to have a go!

But there has to be a first, so here's mine (oh woe!):

Financial - This whole situation is completely broken.  There are debts that are never going to be paid off.  Someone is going to end up losing out--so far they say it will be future generations, but I don't see govts. having the nouse to work out a system so that works.  It's going to come grinding to a halt sometime next summer--if it can limp on that far.  In the meantime, Jerome (and people like him) will have had a ChrisCook-like illumination and will suddenly be selling futures in production, risk up front in the manufacture, payment as value comes on line--what other choices will there be?  The financial system has no way out because it can't bear to just lose all the assets held by the rich...or whatever...if food isn't getting through because credit notes aren't available, suddenly a huge company is going to leap on the Chris model, bypass the whole thing, maybe your cooperative can be part of such a thing--suddenly markets will be there, maybe supermarkets coming to you and saying, "Okay, we'll buy it all, we'll pay as we sell, we'll pay you in..."--okay, euros, because currencies will still exist,

(you see how bad I am at this?! ;)

Manufacturing (okay, call it Production):

Obama will make a start and immediately get held up by Congress or the Senate or somesuch, but maybe some states will just get on with it (or there'll be a boom in those who are already starting); there'll be informal trade links between states...I'm sure there are already, but there's going to be a positive domino effect as best practice spreads...sorta what we read here from some US posters, where they're already up to University size, community size, all this being helped (technology-wise) by those PhDs that Obama is putting in charge of, what is it--energy?  The ocean?--they're wedded to best practice, not The Democrats, so boom!  But then along come lawyers, special interests.  But hold on...they aren't so many now...if the banking system croaks in June the rats'll be fleeing, by December--the rise of all kinds of strange political animals....

Obama being wise, grabs on, "Now is not the time to be fighting wars against people we don't know for reasons we don't understand!" some piece of roman rhetoric...

heh!  You see how bad I am at all this?  My lord, just how wrong can a person be?

China: crazy amounts of construction of all kinds.  Huge smog cloud hovering over the land, getting thicker.  What'll happen?  Ikernov nussink---my guesses are worse than silence!

Issa Yuletime where I is, the year's winding down, all the bugs are hopping around, the pound drops 20% against the euro in a week, or was it a month or a day, oil goes from $150 to $40 in a month or was it a week?  Crazy oscillations--no chance of making a prediction!  But...I'm sure everyone has some ideas fermenting...I'd like to read 'em if anyone wants to post 'em.

I'm sure they'll be better than mine--let's say I set a low bar.  (So's we can keep drinking all the way down.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 08:25:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well somebody is going to have to make a preditions, because apparently prediction is too difficult at the moment according to the UK banks (and we all know how good their predictive abilities have been recently)

BBC NEWS | Business | Lenders axe house price forecast

Two of the UK's biggest mortgage lenders, the Halifax and the Nationwide, have decided not to make any house price forecasts for 2009.

They publish the UK's most widely followed and long standing house price surveys each month.

Normally they forecast prices for the coming year as well, but the Halifax said it was "not appropriate" due to its impending takeover by Lloyds TSB.

The Nationwide said it was simply too difficult at the moment.

"Things are changing so rapidly in the market, which makes it very difficult to forecast," said a Nationwide spokeswoman.

"When things have settled down a bit we may be in a position to review this next year," she added.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 09:44:07 AM EST
No, they are defending the other branch of their business, which is to give people big fat mortgages.

If they forecast a house price crash, there will be less mortgages and they will be leaner.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 09:46:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
damn the html sarcasm markers dont transfer across properly ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 09:57:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I hope for and what I expect in 2009 are different.

I hope for greater transparency and honesty in political and business leadership. I hope to see more cooperation and less competition in  every aspect of life. I also hope for greater forgiveness - as Robert Anton Wilson said 'The happiest people are those who forgive the most'. Also taxes that make incomes more equitable. And all the other stuff.

And as a friend of mine says when anyone moans about the inconsequential: 'Would you like to stand with a microphone in front of 10.000 starving people and say that?'.

What I expect is that the interubez will increasingly enable my hopes.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 10:19:44 AM EST
I think we get a lot of what people hope for, here at ET and elsewhere.  I suppose when we write out what we think is going wrong and what should be done, we're expressing some hopes...pushing out towards our more ideal future.

But, imagining you are just here for a few weeks then off to another of the many multiverses, Sven Triloqvist, Spatial Ranger, and you don't have any special powers beyond the normal human range, but you're going to be off next week, so I ask: What do you think is going to happen?

I dunno--am I asking a stupid question?  Nobody knows what's going to happen, we all have thoughts, dreams, but I was--still am--interested in people's ideas--a kind of, "Okay, here are my best guesses."

But...is that a dumb thing to ask?  I'm not sure if people just are thinking, "Well, I really don't know."  And that says something when the site is full of commenters with keen minds and a good handle on current events...

...if no one here wants to (or can) look into their crystal ball and make a few predictions, well, okay.

Specifically, I'm interested in finance and production (manufacture) as it seems to me that big changes are already underway and people's maps (not hopes this time) of the near future...I don't know, I'd find them interesting.

But I think I expresseth it badlink or missed geisting zeits etc.  As you say, if they don't get the point, I must have phrased it badly--or there's no point to get..heh...sproingk!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 10:47:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'll just put the positive stuff!

i think the spread of the deceptively gentle art of satire will boom in 2009, due to reality's lapping it.

racing round the tubez, viral scoff mind memes will reduce millions to helpless, rueful hilarity, after which they will rise e-invigorated to put their shoulders too to the mouse scroll-wheel and blog the planet into a new dimension.

people will stop blathering about 'the psychology of consumers' and other such balderdash, and discuss better ways to darn yer socks and pickle yer walnuts. gossip will return to the washing line, as dryers will all be silent, turned into container gardens, or flywheel powered lettuce centrifuges.

people will use seeds as money.

city nights will be starry, owls, foxes and nightingales will cruise berkeley square along with barefoot carolling troubadours.

people will compete to be the most poor-looking, and anyone actually in a position to buy anything will be extremely discreet about it.

after the first human wave hits whitehall and white house, overpowering the security services with hugs and smiles (the cops ran screaming off into the night, or put down their arms and joined their countrymens' dance, refusing to fire rubber bullets into a crowd of mothers and children, or taser/teargas them). the government saw sense and sent everyone home with free biodegradable action movies where the heroes didn't blow people and things away to 'attain plot resolution'.

when everyone has stopped laughing about how easy that was, the skulldiggers will come out sheepishly, profusely apologising for their scurrilous ways, and racing each other to give away their fortunes.

maybe that was 2010, i can get a bit alt-timerz around this kind of timetravel, give or take...

everyone eats organic food and the hospitals are empty, doctors putter in the conservatory herbal gardens to while away the days waiting for the occasional patient, and since everyone will live till 100 minimum if they desire, there is a lot of attention paid to making old folks very comfortable.

oh yes, the economy...

it just sort of fizzled out, the concept became moot sometime around late may, when millions realised that their summer holidays would last for ever.

there's a mad scientist who vies for world domination by threatening to use a space-sourced sine wave to be beamed down on the planet everywhere, till no one gets any sleep.

he tries it out on a small county in siberia, and all go insane except those who had carefully trained their eardrums over decades to withstand unusual amounts of pressure, in other words three old finn rockers in retirement, living on the edge of some tiny village out in desi urzu land, down a rutted lane only passable 3 nights a year.

they were crooning doo-wop in the sauna, and thought the sinewave was just another soundbite from the stars.

they tried to harmonise with it, but gave up after the oscillation got too much for their ululating, and simply banged their crania in time to the beat until merciful sleep reigned in the snowy void.

some unschooled one-headed peasant-magus emerges from the tundra with the key to returning the staggering siberians back to their normal vodka-consciousness they preferred to terrestrial cognition.

she unpacks the algorhythm and zooms it back to the dreaded uber-perp, who collapses media-ficently, burning out a million server-farms and three nutwork tv stations making sure there'd be no sequel.

great google almighty!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 04:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'm sure on your wavelength tonight - somwhere around 4,000 ångströms ;-)

Well said, sir...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 04:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
4,000? why so blue?

(and yes I know its more violet than blue)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 11:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are Purple Pros ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 05:28:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really have no idea about the future. I almost am ready to accept that it will be what it will be - as the accumulated organic desire of billions of people living and acting 16 hours a day. And of all those who have ever lived.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 04:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what, no rock monsters?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Dec 19th, 2008 at 05:44:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, as one who values conversing with ancient rocks, I can make an attempt at prognostication (later), but first this prediction.

With each passing hour, it becomes more and more likely that the Crazy Horse will actually make the move to Bremen on Monday, assuming of course that the Sprinter shows up for hauling purposes.  Most of the past six weeks in the Hansastadt Bremen has been interesting fun, but it could be better with my stuff around.  (Liquid though much of it is. ;-))

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Dec 20th, 2008 at 10:35:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bremen was my mothers home town, and I still have an uncle living in Oldenburg. Loads of windmills and some quite nice (if flat) landscape.  I hope you enjoy it there.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 21st, 2008 at 06:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This one is scary but interesting:
...(in USA) the expectations for the numbers of jobs lost in the economy are rising towards a cruel, eye-popping and devastating 1 million per month for 2009, and likely beyond...it puts the US in a category of economies that has members in the likes of Bulgaria before the Berlin wall came down.
...Well, Mr. Obama, here is your key to reviving that trust. Find your own Elliott Ness, this one specialized in derivatives, get him the people he wants and needs, and start raiding the banks' vaults, and the hedge funds, and the pension funds. Force it all out into the open...Would be nice, right? Well, don't count on it. The man behind the curtain of Obama's financial team is Robert Rubin, and his proxies are the likes of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. These guys have one goal in mind only: to let the firms, and the very culture, that enriched them and provided them their lifestyle and friends, their yachts and mansions, and the power they so enjoy, endure. Even though they are smart enough to understand that that culture is gone, broke, bankrupt and dead, this is still the sole thing they will work towards. And they will do so at the expense of hard-working or no-longer working ordinary people.
...But for the man in the street, it makes no difference if the Wall Street titans are toppled. He simply needs access to his money, to feed his family, and he needs a job to provide that money. $8 trillion could have provided much of that. But it is now gone. And we'l never see it again, because it's been given to institutions that have losses that are far greater than $8 trillion. In toxic assets. It is not that hard to figure out.
...So where do we go from here, knowing that our governments will keep on making the wrong decisions at every stage of the game? We go towards the prospect of unemployment so vast that it hasn't been seen since the Germany and Dust Bowl 1920's. We move into a time where nation states and their elected governments come under pressure so intense that many will fall.
...For a future in which 10-20-30% of their populations may be out of work. For a social coherence that will make it possible to provide everyone of their citizens with their minimum basic human needs. Work. Water. Shelter. Heat. Food. Health Care. In Athens, the riots of the past weeks spring from one source: 70% of young people are unemployed, have no income, no prospects and no future. That will spread to other countries. And that is a recipe for collapsing societies.
...In western societies, the perhaps most important factor is the widespread sense of entitlement that rules the lives of those who've always had it good. Who've always had well-paying jobs. Who've put money away for savings and pensions and all these things. Already, there is a huge rift growing between the baby boomer haves and their offspring's have-nots. The few lucky Greek youth who are employed are known as the "€700 generation". They can make $1000 a month, and that's it. While the older generation sits pretty. This cannot last, that should be obvious to all.
...And so we head for the inevitable wall, and we will all say that we could not possibly have seen it coming. But that wall was always there all along, walls don't tend to sneak up on people. People rush into walls, not the other way around.
...We have lived through a time of unprecedented affluence, and we have seen it as normal, and told ourselves we deserved all of it, that we are entitled to what it has given us. But it's over, and it will be no more, nor will it ever return in our lifetimes. If we are to live in a functioning society in the years to come, we will have to share much of our riches, and we will have to find out how to be fulfilled with much less material wealth. If we don't, our societies will collapse, and we will lose that wealth regardless. But looking around me, I see little hope that we will do all these things before it's too late. It you don't volunteer to share, the difference in wealth between you and your own children's generation will become so glaring that they will come and take it away from you.

...An era is over. We have been the last of the affluent, the carefree and the innocent. Not that we're really all that inncoent, mind you, it was all just pretense all the way, many millions of people have died for our affluence. We just never told ourselves their life stories. They will be our stories soon.

Are you now ready to fight in the streets, to protect your family, to share your meal with the hungry? It's not about being a leftie, or a softie, and I certainly am neither. It's about survival. It's about being smart enough to read the world you live in. The model of the nuclear family will die with the affluence. It's never been but an aberration. You will, like your ancestors before you, need your family, your friends, and your neighbors.

Life itself is about to come calling.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 12:22:23 AM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]