Here are my predictions for 2014:
- Five predictions remain unchanged from prior years: Iraq continues to be headed toward another dictatorship; Afghanistan will become increasingly dysfunctional, especially after the United States and NATO withdraw; global warming will become progressively worse (e.g., tides will rise, artic ice decrease, and violent storms increase in frequency and severity); no major war will begin; and the world will not end.
- The U.S. economy, and European economies, will continue to improve, slowly clawing their way back from the recession of 2007-2008. The stock markets will have another good year, although not as strong as 2014 was.
- The U.S. Congress will remain riven by partisanship but avoid a complete federal breakdown by reaching small compromises such as the one that resulted in their passing the first federal budget in years.
- Digital media will continue to supplant other forms of media; more content will be free or low-cost, e.g., books will continue to migrate from paper to various electronic formats. People will rely more on cloud storage and less on storage that they own, signaling a continuing downward trend in personal computer purchases. Dissatisfaction with brief forms of communication (e.g., Twitter) will begin to develop as people seek richer, deeper relationships.
- Roll out of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) will continue to experience significant problems but foes will fail to muster the votes required for repeal. Instead, small changes will incrementally move the U.S. toward some form of nationalized healthcare, although the nation will not achieve that goal for years.
- States will continue to liberalize drug laws, especially those outlawing marijuana. Similarly, opposition to other hot-button social issues (abortion, capital punishment, and same sex marriage) will continue to diminish. Opposition to gun control will be the most controversial exception to that generalization.
- Syrian President Assad will remain in power. U.S. efforts to broker a peace between Israel and the Palestinians will go nowhere, scuttled, if for no other reason, by Israel continuing to build settlements on disputed land.
- Generalized spirituality will continue to attract adherents from traditional religious groups that remain tied to legacy buildings, doctrines, and practices.
- Trends toward healthy living (e.g., eating local, slow food, popularity of pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, healthier eating, etc.) will continue, although some unhealthy trends (e.g., working too many hours and sleeping too little) will also continue. Overall, the balance will shift toward healthier living.
- In the 2014 U.S. midterm elections, Republicans will keep control of the House of Representatives; Democrats will retain – barely – control of the Senate with the aid of independents and perhaps with the aid of the Vice President's vote.
- And on a celebratory personal note, readership of Ethical Musings will grow by 50%, as it did in 2013!
Reviewing my 2014 predictions, and keeping in mind my observation in the previous post that predictions express one's beliefs about the world, I see my optimism and values reflected in several of my predictions.
What are your predictions for 2014? What do your predictions say about you and your worldview?