It is something that has been said (by people like me – and a few experts) for quite some time, but now in a severe warning of things about to burst upon an unprepared and disbelieving humanity, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) analysts say a range of economic and social challenges are “all heading to a boiling point” next decade.
Welcome to “the decade of peak”.
Quoting from the BAML report, this article from Australia’s ABC News says:
“We enter the next decade with interest rates at 5,000-year lows, the largest asset bubble in history, a planet that is heating up, and a deflationary profile of debt, disruption and demographics.”
“We will end it with nearly 1 billion people added to the world, a rapidly ageing population, up to 800 million people facing the threat of job automation and the environment on the brink of catastrophic change.”
Allow me to explain the “nearly 1 billion people added” remark (because it is significant).
It is not the nearly ‘8 billion’ that you may be thinking of. We are there now, with a 7.75 billion total due to be hit next month and the full 8 billion due before the end of 2022.
No, we will be way beyond that by the end of the next decade, with the 9th billion scheduled (barring accidents) for 2033 at the current rate of growth. So it is nearly 9 billion people the report is talking about who will be trying to make a life for themselves at the end of the 2020s on a much depleted and wilder planet than we see now. Think about that.
“The 1981-2016 era of unchecked flow of goods, people and capital is coming to an end…” is the message. Think about that also, and reflect on the fact that 1981-2016 is the period when most of the people alive today came into the world and is therefore the only world situation that most people alive today have ever known.
All that these folk have ever known is about to be swept away, and I dare say – never to return. Once the merry-go-round stops, it will be impossible to restart. You might want to think about that too.
Are you prepared?
Do you see in the world today – the conflict, the unrest, the riots, the terrorism, the poverty, the unprecedented wealth gap between the rich and the rest (and which group are you in?), the inaffordability of all but the basic necessities for most folk, the loss of rights, freedoms and liberties, the growing oppression from governments struggling to make ends meet and deal with the growing unrest, the tightening of laws, the gradual withdrawal of a cash economy? And much more.
Do you see all of that? And do you wonder what is going on? Do you wonder how it came to this and where things are going?
Well, you won’t need to wonder for much longer. We will all be living it.
Believe it, or not.
Many a time have I said, and written here and elsewhere, that the year 2020 would mark the beginning of this huge change, no not change, it can only be described as an upheaval – an upheaval of such magnitude as to be civilisation ending. I don’t crow about having made such a prediction (which is yet to happen of course), but I have felt it in my bones for some time. And while such events are likely to be the end of me personally, I do not seek to fight the prospect. In fact I see it as a necessary step in human development. A step which may actually see an end to all humanity but may also provide the conditions where a new beginning could emerge, perhaps only on a very small scale.
That does not mean that we should give up all hope and not prepare ourselves as best we can to give ourselves the best chance to come through to the other side of the calamity that must surely confront us when these predictions come to pass. Who knows how many, where, and exactly who will survive? And luck may have a say in that, meaning those best equipped may not be among them. Though all things being equal, preparedness will undoubtedly bring some advantage.
I have said enough here. What happens to you and those you love, not only in the next decade, but if you make it it will be a gruelling lifelong task to rebuild any kind of comfortable existence in the new world that emerges.
All that, is basically down to you and those you meet and have community with in the future.