What does 2011 hold in store?
The US economy will pick up, two Latin American presidents may be overthrown, the Middle East will confront “crushing dangers” and sandals may be worn with a suit: a sample of the most relevant, and oddest, predictions for 2011.
Beginning at home in the Netherlands, trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas expects the next decade will be much like the 1980s: drastic budget cuts, falling real estate prices and threatened pensions. This year, bargaining will be popular, as will vegetable gardens and electric cars. Bakas, the 2009 trend watcher of the year, also predicts the euro’s eventual demise.
Pink, however, will be definitely out, according to Bakas, with purple facing the same fate. Orange, in whatever hue, will be popular—despite last year’s World Cup football fiasco.
Like Bakas, Dutch daily De Telegraaf expects the allotment will be cool, at the expense of this year’s rage, growing cannabis. And this year will hark back to the 70s, the country’s biggest paper purports. Most shocking of all perhaps: Facebook will be out, to be replaced by that bygone relic, the old-fashioned family.
Unlike Holland, Latin America boasts a long tradition predicting the future, with soothsayers, visionaries and astrologists flooding the media towards year’s end.
Venezuela’s Davil Goncalve, better known as King David, predicts that five Latin American presidents will face rebellions, with two of them making the narrowest of escapes.
No less catholic in his vaticinations, Mexico’s Wenseslao Flores Xalas, the Black Cat warns: “Evil will spread across the world. Next year will also witness events relating to climate change with devastating consequences.”
Like their Mexican counterparts, soothsayers in Kenya see 2011 through a glass darkly. For Isaac Sagala, in Nairobi, this year is bound to be “complicated”. Another diviner, forebodes widespread famine due to drought, not, alas, such a fanciful fear.
Another augur foresees that the International Criminal Court in The Hague will convict six Kenyans for their role in post-election violence in 2007. Both Kenya’s government and parliament, the sage forewarns, will be powerless to prevent the convictions.
In North America, opinions regarding 2011 are sharply divided. CBS’s best reporters, who last year accurately predicted events in 2010, completely disagree on this year, including developments in Afghanistan or the winner of the World Series. An American-Indian commentator for CNN, Time and the Washington Post is moderately optimistic, suggesting the American economy will improve, Europe will survive and the conflict with Iran will fail to escalate. Two cheers for 2011, he says, in what he calls his “glass-half-full column” for Time Magazine.
In her latest best-seller, the most popular astrologer in the Arab World, Lebanon’s Magi Farah, predicts 2011 will see “crushing dangers”. Tunisian astrologer Hasan al-Charni forebodes nothing but gloom and doom, too, but knows why: the first four months of the year will be quiet only to be followed by a series of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, a coup in Pakistan and a fresh war between Hizbollah and Israel during the holy month of Ramadan.
A so-called "real estate bubble blow-off schedule” circulating widely on the internet predicts that China’s real estate bubble will burst in 2011. The schedule claims that the Chinese situation is similar to Japan’s before 1991. Their banking systems, population structure and urbanisation rate, many experts say, are rather different, so the "blow-off” may just remain a "prediction”.
Whatever the case, housing prices have been soaring for several years, leaving many Chinese struggling with mortgages and rent, so much so that housing now is one of China’s biggest social problems.
More trivially, Holland’s top trend watcher Bakas is absolutely certain: sandals will be back in fashion, even worn with a suit.
Photo credit: flickr.com: aussiegall