September 17th, 2009
The recent election in Japan is extremely significant. It indicates that the country is beginning to catch up to the rest of the world. In my book “The Shift Age” and my speech with the same title I speak about the “Threshold Decades”, a 20 year period from 1985-2005 when the developed countries of the world moved from the Industrial Age into and through the Information Age. Japan at least geopolitically has finally moved into this time, long after it should have done so.
Future historians will look back at the Threshold Decades as the threshold between the room of the past and the room of the future. The threshold between the room of what was and the room of what will be. Think about all that happened during this 20 year period: the collapse of the Soviet Union, the entrance of China onto the world economic stage, the conversion of analog to digital, the growth of number of cell phones from 700,000 to 2 billion and of course the beginning and completion of the first stage of the truly global economy.
Japan didn’t really participate in this transition except as a rigidly structured nation state fully grounded in the Industrial Age. Except for a one year hiccup in the early 1990’s, the same political party has ruled the country since WWII. That party, the LDP, has basically ruled since the 1940s. It built a triangulated partnership of party, big business and an ever increasing number of bureaucrats that became entrenched and …
September 10th, 2009
As a futurist I write and speak about long term trends. As an advisor and speaker to CEOs, I am looked to for more short term trends and forecasts. Last September, when the growing recession went into a global financial meltdown after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I was constantly being asked about what was going to happen economically, about what was going on, how bad would it be and how long it would last. This led me to look both deeply and widely across the global economic stage to develop forecasts and predictions.
As I consume media widely these past few months I realize that, in large part because I am a futurist and not an economist I have been right, while the “consensus of experts” have often been wrong. I look at broad and long term trends and this current recession is part of a larger historic transition going on. It is a reorganizational recession between two ages, the Information Age and the Shift Age. Perhaps it is this long term viewpoint that has provided me with an accuracy missing from the “economic experts”
In a column entitled “The Collapse of the Third Economic Wave” dated 10/15/08 I proclaimed that the third wave of consumer spending had collapsed and that “Thrift would be the new extravagance” and that “thrift would be the new behavior and the cool thing to do” Since that column, the savings rate in the U.S. has gone from -.5% of income to 6.7% and …