3 Trends for 2017 — The can kicks back!

Trust is a delicate fabric that binds our society together. This last year has seen that fabric stretched in new directions as the incumbent political parties were kicked in the teeth by the ‘English not British’, the ‘Fly-over States’ and most recently the ‘Movimento5Stelle’. Our tenuous trust in established political parties has been exposed and it isn’t just the ‘working class’ that is feeling that the time for change is upon us. While US stock markets are testing new highs, Sotheby’s shoppers have been quietly leaving the building…

The repercussions of this compromised trust will define 2017 as old power structures give way to those emerging from not-so-captive consumers:

1. Debt deflation to accelerate

The debt feast peaked in 2007. Ever since the world’s central banks have been plugging fingers into markets leaking liquidity. But the global financial system is too big and too complex. The vast debt based system relies on inter-woven IOU’s on a truly astonishing scale. Now we are caught in a self-reinforcing cycle of receding trust in our governments, in our banks, and in each other, debt in its many forms will become progressively harder to come by. As the supply of dollars contracts, interest rates will rise — leading all those businesses and assets that have been puffed up by cheap money to deflate. Property, equity and bonds all look pretty crook for 2017 — as does the Euro.

2. Alt-media eats the mainstream media

The media have always been compromised by their reliance on advertising to fund their grocery bills, it was just that once upon a time they had classifieds to dilute the influence of their paymasters. 2016 was the year that the erosion of their independence finally came home to roost as the mainstream media were exposed in the US elections as being the mouthpieces of an ever-deeper-pocketed oligarchy. An increasingly smarter-tech audience with an appetite to hear independent views, coupled with emerging gig-economy-models for journalism, will see 2017 as the year that the alternative media rise reflexively to fill the gap.

3. Millennials pivot to organic capitalism

Having been raised in a debt-funded-economy that is now coming apart at the seams, and been extensively schooled in global climate anxiety, Millennials are likely to turn to more organic forms of capitalism. Less debt, more equity. The Charter of the Forest will see a resurgence as more community and cooperative approaches to business are developed. And we will begin the cycle back to re-regulation of the banking sector — ultimately revisiting days when being a bank manager meant garnering the respect of your peers while wearing a crocheted cardigan. Quite possibly Milennials will join the repudiation of the dollar, as it’s seen as tied to the debt-funded model, and will turn to embrace crypto-currencies as more stable forms of exchange.

What trends does you see? The rise of the Russian fashion label? The re-imagining of Pokemon-Go as a campaign tool in the German elections?