Friday, January 13, 2006

2006 trends

From USA Today

The Trends Research Institute releases its "Top Trends 2006" Thursday, the 15th report of its kind from the upstate New York-based social, economic and political trend forecasting think tank. Despite favorable predictions for labor unions and environmental concerns, Americans are headed for a culturally and economically dismal time next year if these predictions are on the money.

One surprising trend, says research institute director Gerald Celente, is that this generation is looking back in time for inspiration, a backlash against the poor quality of recent movies and music. "When the baby boomers were growing up," he says, "they didn't look back to the past — the politicians, the actors, the music — for guidance or to find their own voice." But this generation is finding "heroes in Lennon and Dylan. This is a first in American history."

Other predicted trends:
• The survival business will boom for the first time since the Cold War as Americans perceive their government as incapable of protecting them from terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

• Technology will continue to empower self-reliant, "off the grid" survivalists, who will seek to avoid payment of fuel, water, electricity and telephone bills.

• Citizen-driven movements for states to break away from the union will arise.

• Global sales of products "made in the USA" will suffer after media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, which greatly damaged the world's view of the United States.

• Online TV, the ultimate in media convergence, will signal the decline of the communication industry's monopoly on broadcast news and entertainment.

• Real estate values in rural areas will continue to rise as it becomes fashionable to downsize from mega-mansions to log cabins.

• Entertainment that pokes fun at the consumption habits of the wealthy elite will become popular as reality TV's projection of "real life" becomes increasingly inaccurate.

• A new American labor movement will boost union power for workers in the lowest strata of the U.S. economy.

• Hometown economies will benefit as fuel costs soar and consumers become less willing to drive farther to do their errands; if a pandemic such as bird flu hits, people will patronize local merchants to avoid crowds.

• Discovering reliable new sources of alternative energy will be the primary drive in science and invention.

• Americans will address environmental concerns such as global warming, food safety and recycling.

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