I am watching a few trends:
- Central banks are charging negative interest rates, and discouraging people from hoarding cash
- Sweden is going cash-free (meaning: people will be forced to put money in the bank and pay negative interest rates)
- Jobs are becoming scarce, being replaced by automation (e.g. McDonalds self-checkout counter, Google self-driving cars and Amazon delivery drones)
- Developing countries such as China are pouring out record numbers of ambitious university graduates desperate enough to ignore poor working conditions
- Telecommuting and outsourcing allow companies to hire people from all around the world
- The developed countries’ youth are going in the opposite direction, choosing to opt-out unless they receive good or meaningful work conditions
- Alternative communities are gaining popularity as people explore new lifestyles
As governments worldwide continue to spend beyond their means and the world’s financial system becomes increasingly unstable, policymakers will take increasingly desperate and bold measures. In the post-2015 oil-bust strong-USD global financial crisis, they will engage in widespread Quantitative Easing and impose negative interest rates. This will be a new form of taxation – you pay to be part of the financial system.
Insurance companies will go bankrupt, since they cannot earn any money from government bonds that they are holding. Even if we somehow manage to hold on to our insurance policies, these policies will become virtually worthless due to hyperinflation.
[I don’t think I can trust the news about deflation. The last time I checked, my mother’s raw food prices are rising about 20% per year. One reason is that Planet Earth is reaching sustainable limits and the other is that the trillions of dollars of newly-created money can’t just have no effect in the real economy.]
As jobs become scarce and the pay goes down due to intense competition for jobs, life in the mainstream society will become harder and harder. Until its barely tolerable. When university degree holders start working as cleaners and get paid just enough to survive on spirulina-only meals in a tiny room, it becomes tempting for them to opt out.
And opt-out they will. Many will. Hundred of millions will. As the cities empty, these people will go and form their own alternative communities where they can grow their own food and live a more dignified and meaningful life.
Then the policymakers around the world will be forced to choose.
- They can ignore the situation until their cities empty out.
- They can create a Neo-Welfare state where everyone will receive a sustainable share of the profits from the automated factories without being forced to work.
- Or they can arrest the exodus by declaring the alternative communities illegal and preventing citizens from leaving the country to join other alternative communities worldwide. Citizens who are caught joining such a community will have their citizenship revoked.
If Option 3 were to happen, the freedom-lovers will form Floating Islands in the Ocean. Occupying international waters, they remain beyond the reach of the worlds’ governments. They will be free to live a simple life, while the technology of the developed world evolves beyond recognition. There will then be a great divide between the technologically advanced “Old World” and the happy hippie “New World”. [Based on history, such divides tend to end up badly for the weaker party in the long run.]
It is my hope that we can encourage the world’s governments to choose Option 2. With this choice, they will use advanced technology to create Heaven on Earth – releasing Humanity from working in jobs they dislike, so that Humanity can work in truly meaningful ways to fulfill their own passion and ambitions.