Friday, December 13, 2013

Is there going to be a train wreck

In my quest to gain knowledge about the past and present (don’t forget I am an apprentice futurist) I came across this interesting article from Business Insider from last July written by Henry Blodget.   “If you’re wondering what’s wrong with America, look at these four charts” is the title of the article. 

Let me summarize:

Unemployment is above 7%
Growth is weak.
Most consumers are strapped.
Meanwhile, the stock market is hitting record highs, and corporations are printing money.

Blodgot uses four charts to prove his point. 

Chart one illustrates the fact that corporate profits and profit margins are at an all-time high.

Chart two shows wages are going the other direction and are at an all-time low as a percent of the economy.

Chart three is a graph of jobs from the US Department of labor showing that fewer Americans are employed than at any time in the past three decades.

Chart four, also from the US Department of Labor, shows that labor’s share of the national income is at an all-time low.

Blodgot suggest that it is time to rethink our current business philosophy.  In short, he says

“..the religion of "maximizing profits" that has developed in America over the past 30 years has created a business culture in which executives dance to the tune of short-term traders and quarterly financial reports, instead of investing aggressively on behalf of employees, customers, and long-term owners.

I am sure that Mr. Blodgot’s facts are correct but I am not sure that they are fully in context.  However, one can’t be encouraged with the direction these important indicators show our country is headed.  My job, as a futurist, is to offer some thoughts on the subject.   The question is, will the trends indicated in these four charts continue into the future or will some event happen that will alter the trend of one or more of the charts?   Another question for a futurist to consider is where will it all end if nothing changes?  

ummmmmmm! I will get back to you on that.

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