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The Economist: The World in 2008
November 28, 2007 5:46 PM   Subscribe

In 2008, China will fail to ride the Olympics wave and improve its worldwide image, the US will vote mainly on health (barring a terrorist attack or a recession), usher in a period of pragmatic caution and toast to it over a nice Merlot, the culture wars will go global, Israel may decide that it must act alone against Iran, African gangs will prosper, UK politics will be re-established as a spectator sport, we will finally quit oil - and want yet more of it, the potato will make a comeback, an island will be moved for the sake of the Euro, we will rush to give for free what others charge for, U will HAV CASH, robots will explore the seas of Earth, which is round, by the way, pigs will fly, and we will like totally love it (don't we?).

The Economist: The World in 2008.

So how will we predict the future in the future? And how did we do last time round?

Guest contributions:

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City
Angelina Jolie, goodwill ambassador to the UNHCR
Michel Platini, UEFA president
Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (33 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice post!

I can't wait to get my copy... when do they go out?
posted by mr_roboto at 5:52 PM on November 28, 2007


So much for all that time I spent configuring my web proxy to block popup ads from The Economist.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:05 PM on November 28, 2007


China, no longer needing to appear the nice guy for the Olympics, will invade Taiwan. America, not wanting to destroy its own economy, will look the other way.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:09 PM on November 28, 2007


dances_with_sneetches writes "China, no longer needing to appear the nice guy for the Olympics, will invade Taiwan. America, not wanting to destroy its own economy, will look the other way."

Correction: America, not wanting to destroy its own economy being completely pwned economically, will look the other way sheepishly offer to help.
posted by mullingitover at 6:15 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I PREDICT: a grammar error will be found in an August issue of The Economist.
posted by Postroad at 6:22 PM on November 28, 2007


For years, I laughed at the potato. I was sorely mistaken.
posted by stavrogin at 6:26 PM on November 28, 2007


I laugh with the potato.
posted by dazed_one at 6:32 PM on November 28, 2007


in 1996 they predicted that Clinton, if reelected, would destroy the US economy. they also predicted at various times that oil prices would go down, down, down.


the Onion was spot-on, once again.
posted by matteo at 6:33 PM on November 28, 2007 [7 favorites]


Well, China looked the other way during all those U.S. invasions, and they weren't even your own rebel provinces, so fair's fair and all.
Joking apart, that's a fairly superficial load of old tosh from the Economist on China. For example, there's a fair bit of sabre-rattling going on over the Straits right now it seems, and the Kitty Hawk was refused refuelling in Hong Kong, for instance.
posted by Abiezer at 6:51 PM on November 28, 2007


i predict the next president of the united states will be someone mefites will complain about for the next 4 years
posted by pyramid termite at 6:52 PM on November 28, 2007


^ here's hopin' !
posted by panamax at 7:04 PM on November 28, 2007


I can't believe I'm about to say this.

I never thought I would.

I swore I wouldn't.

But I'm about to.

OK, here goes...

Eponysterical?
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:15 PM on November 28, 2007


Are we doing actual predictions? I'll stick my neck out. First the easy stuff Somewhat harder:posted by gsteff at 7:42 PM on November 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


The law forbids Petraeus to be SecDef until 10 years after he retires. The same law forbids Wes Clark being SoD until 2010. Of course, Congress can just pass a law changing that, it's not Constitution-based.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:53 PM on November 28, 2007


This is going worse than I expected.
posted by gsteff at 7:55 PM on November 28, 2007


Before the iPod, people weren’t asking to carry their entire music collection in their pockets. But Steve Jobs and a few others at Apple understood the economics of storage abundance. They could see that disk drives were gaining capacity for the same price even faster than computer processors were. Demand for massive music collections wasn’t driving this—physics and engineering were. Anyone could extrapolate the curves and see what was around the corner, but only the Apple engineers “listened to the technology”, to use Mead’s phrase, and saw that putting 10,000 songs on a drive smaller than a deck of playing cards was going to be possible by 2001.
*gag*

No one except the tens of thousands of people already doing it before the iPod came out. Talk about idiotic writing.
posted by delmoi at 8:47 PM on November 28, 2007


Recession hits, hard, in January. Pundits draw parallels to 1992, and then Hillary becomes inevitable. In a bold move, she picks Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas as her VP.

Giuliani having dropped out for "health reasons," Romney easily wins the GOP nomination in low-turnout primaries and picks Huckabee as VP. The ruse doesn't work. Romney wins only Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, Mississippi, and Alabama. The role of Ross Perot is played by Ron Paul, who gets 25% of the popular vote and actually picks up seven electoral votes (Alaska, Montana, and a Maine district).

In December, a couple of drunk teenagers in Siberia discover an old Soviet launching pad and send six nuclear warheads to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, New York, and Boston. We all die. The end.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:04 PM on November 28, 2007


Well, I can definitely agree with the 'we will rush to give for free what others charge for' concept.

I'm deep in the midst of that right now. Playing market disrupter is fun. We've taken two separate aspects of a market, combined them, and now are given them away for free.

The emails from people rejoicing over not having to pay for expensive software is absolutely delightful. I love it.

I think things, in general, are tending towards 'information wants to be free'. Duh. But it isn't just music or video... it's digitally transmittable media in general. For any given commercial or pay-for product, someone will release a free or open source version (tending towards open source... we are).

Bandwidth, storage, and processing are insanely cheap. Any business model ignoring this is going to die quickly.
posted by killThisKid at 9:04 PM on November 28, 2007


Woo I want in on the prediction thing!

Kucinich and Paul will win their respective nominations, and the presidential campaign will be a debate of the ideas of honest candidates that will inspire a generation of new genuine patriots.

Following the american withdrawal from Iraq, a representative government will be set up that manages to resolve most of the strife within the war-torn country. After an abuse victim from a neighboring country flees into Iraq to escape an unjust sentence in her homeland, and is granted amnesty there (and attracts international media attention to her case), Iraq's reputation will begin to improve, and the country will become the center of regional reform spearheaded not by an invading power, but by its own citizens.

The american economy will continue to deflate, however instead of spawning a new Great Depression, it results in a widespread movement condemning the rampant excesses of consumerism and marketing. A new religious movement that focuses single-mindedly on service to your fellow human being sweeps the nation, and even those who had become embittered to the idea of religion admit that the volunteer response to the devastating 2010 hurricane, which wrecked havok as far inland as Atlanta, was one of the greatest humanitarian acts of the century.

With the rejection of consumerism, a new light is shed on the idea of intellectual property. While not entirely destroyed, its scope is severely limited, and while creators are fairly compensated, the idea that they can maintain absolute control of their knowledge is in practice abolished. Universities and other places of learning are filled to overflowing with students being taught the cutting edge of research in all fields. Medicines that were in short supply are provided in plenty to third world countries, and human life expectancy continues to rise. While the demand for oil, and the problems caused by the demand have not disappeared, new technological progress guarantees a planned, careful, safe progression to an oil free future.

With America rejecting the "Service Economy" as a "plague of cannabalism" that has maimed the national workforce, the manufacturing base begins to recover. Reduced exports in China spawn unrest, which feeds a growing revolutionary movement. Spurred by demands for human and civil rights, the ruling party's leaders capitulate to demands for fair competitive elections.

(I was going to throw in some stuff about fixing global warming but this is getting long).

Bite me, reality. If you are interested in not sucking so damn much, I'll be in the World of Warcraft.
posted by SomeOneElse at 10:42 PM on November 28, 2007 [11 favorites]


delmoi writes "No one except the tens of thousands of people already doing it before the iPod came out."

You think they sold over 10,000 PJB-100s before 2001? I doubt it.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:03 PM on November 28, 2007


SomeOneElse writes "(I was going to throw in some stuff about fixing global warming but this is getting long). "

No, keep going! posted by mullingitover at 11:59 PM on November 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


but only the Apple engineers “listened to the technology”, to use Mead’s phrase, and saw that putting 10,000 songs on a drive smaller than a deck of playing cards was going to be possible by 2001.



*gag*

No one except the tens of thousands of people already doing it before the iPod came out.


Because Creative had that all figured out. Right. Right?

/does not miss his pre-iPod Nomad days. Good riddance.
posted by sourwookie at 12:06 AM on November 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've got twenty bucks on "SomeOneElse finds 2008 disappointing". Sorry, bro.
posted by ryanrs at 1:39 AM on November 29, 2007


FPP link: UK politics will be re-established as a spectator sport

Actual article: British politics becomes a competitive sport again

As I read it, these two sentences are antonymous. If it's any consolation, I was fully expecting the former to be true.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:57 AM on November 29, 2007


Where's the betting office ryanrs? We've figured out Step 2 and are quickly moving to:

Step 3: Profit!
posted by ersatz at 4:12 AM on November 29, 2007


Uh, ok. Paypal the funds to the address in my profile. I'll let you know if you win.
posted by ryanrs at 5:05 AM on November 29, 2007


Send your winning contracts to Ersatz for disbursement.
posted by ryanrs at 5:07 AM on November 29, 2007


The piece on Mexico was written by the President, isn't that a bit silly? His plans have already been declared publicly (it's not like the piece gives any insider information) and it's highly unlikely that he will be objective about the state that the country is in.
posted by micayetoca at 6:19 AM on November 29, 2007


I subscribed to the Economist for two years and finally got fed up with how every article is basically an editorial that is skimpy on details. And they always have to end on a punchline.

The Economist, you might say, is economical with the details.
posted by mammary16 at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2007


# No one will attack Iran

#... Clinton wins the general


Your predictions contradict each other.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:26 AM on November 29, 2007


"*gag*

No one except the tens of thousands of people already doing it before the iPod came out.

Because Creative had that all figured out. Right. Right?

/does not miss his pre-iPod Nomad days. Good riddance."


Right, because no one else was in the game...
posted by stenseng at 12:04 PM on November 29, 2007


mammary16: I subscribed to the Economist for two years and finally got fed up with how every article is basically an editorial that is skimpy on details.

Hear, hear. I also never did get why they have a page on the leader and then half a page on the page on the leader. It's almost like if they like hearing themselves, or in this case, reading themselves trying to be witty.

Just curious, what do you read in its place now?
posted by tksh at 4:00 PM on November 29, 2007


Metafilter will launch metafilter.metafilter.com to metafilter all the various filters, and create one uber-subdomain which will pwn us all.
posted by cell divide at 4:29 PM on November 29, 2007


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