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As Long as We Remember...

August 4, 2008

“Mega Trends” Become Non-Sequiturs

Steven R. Berryman

Seems like chaos rules anymore when analyzing the changing trends in world happenings and trying to make things make sense. Much of it just doesn’t follow, as in non-sequiturs. There are just too many data points now for old method.


Having taken advice from the 1982 business bestseller “Megatrends” by John Naisbitt, my habits had been to take in lots of news and information to create a synthesis of happenings that change our lives; at this date the disparate types of items up for view absolutely defy processing much of what is news of the day.


Thanks to the 24/7/365 news-cycle, globalization, and the Internet, not only are more things happening more often and presented more frequently, but many of the items reported include major changes worthy of discussion and indicate world-altering trends.


We are out of time to even crunch much of this in “real time!”


The downwardly spiraling economy is one trend that feeds on itself. Even as Toyota was poised to take over production records by taking market share away from American auto companies, it didn’t as our resulting rust-belt effect meant that Americans couldn’t afford to buy as many Japanese cars.




In India, the new $2,500 car, the Nano, has been introduced and announced for production. Their “Model T,” in effect, will allow millions to purchase cars there for the first time.


The trend to more and cheaper cars worldwide will certainly have a chain reaction impact on oil consumption, further raising gas prices and hurting general abilities to purchase and drive for all. Another spiral as demand mocks supply.


Terrorism has become a squishy problem for us all. Changing trends make solutions confounding and elusive as our enemies adapt strategies and transit the mountains of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Squeeze in one place and they show up in another – and then perhaps vise versa.


And even as a “surge” reduces terrorism fatalities, more and more, we are told by The Department of Homeland Security, the enemy lies within our border now, potentially obviating overseas efforts.


Have you seen the overhead highway signs reminding us to report “Suspicious Behaviors?”


Have walls at borders been too late, or is this merely a symptom of our problems? Have we learned from the success of the “Great Wall of China?”


The very oil we crave that contributed so mightily to the real origins of our “preventatative” Iraq War (pardon the Bushism) has been selling at over $4 for so long at the pump now that reportedly we are driving less, reducing our consumption.


Less gasoline sales would mean less tax revenue to our government, both federal and state. There’s talk of having to raise the gasoline tax itself now due to this, compounding its expense, thus further spiraling….This in an environment where Exxon makes another record profit target corporately, assuaging turkey-necked executives, while still they consider selling their retail gas station business to others. Gas must cost too much!


…and then:


Globalism pits Green Building, Leeds Construction and the ecology against our overall costs for all kinds of energy. Much recycling adds costs to production. Materials cost more as a result. Trucking old gypsum or paper to a mill, for example requires diesel fuel for the trucks, a hidden cost not accounted for. Verification paperwork also adds overhead.


This reminds me of the bio-fuels debate as well. Hidden costs for a feel-good world!


More pressure on consumable resources breeds more reuse that breeds more added expenses to the slippery slope…


And back on the homefront, here’s another issue: Who you are.


Identity theft can be a major threat from within. Major improvements from technology will provide biometric enhancements to your identification cards and secure access to property.


You’ve got to love the James Bond-style improvements, including facial recognition cameras that know you, and also having your retinal eye patterns imbedded in a credit card chip.


However, consider the problem that occurs when the identity of the person gaining a fortified ID has already breached it with fraud at the systems original access as it is set up. The devil bites you as you enter into the system.


How to prove you are you?


The downside of this scenario is the ability of one to get a new identity, forever hiding successfully within the masses now. A life anew.


It’s the most obvious non-sequitur of all that even with all of our enhanced news and information, all-the-news-all-of-the-time, even as assisted by the advent of new technologies, that solutions remain fleeting and elusive as the world seems to be capable of changing faster than we can adapt to circumstances.


Perhaps the new political trend after November will include some taking of responsibility for a change?


Some accountability would be a nice start.


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