“Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

— Casey Stengel

“If you learn one thing from having lived through decades of changing views, it is that all predictions are necessarily false.”

— M. H. Abrams

“Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge.”

— Lao Tzu

“You must always be able to predict what’s next and then have the flexibility to evolve.”

— Marc Benioff

“You can only predict things after they have happened.”

— Eugene Ionesco

“The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.”

— Eric Hoffer

“You can’t predict anything. How can you be certain about anything when everything is chaos and we’re not in control?”

— John Lloyd

“Foresight is not about predicting the future, it’s about minimizing surprise.”

— Karl Schroeder

“Knowledge is telling the past. Wisdom is predicting the future.”

— W. Timothy Garvey

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

— Yogi Berra

A new year has begun. What will it bring us? Well, most of 2024 has already been baked in during 2023. But does anybody truly know what happened in 2023? Lots of views, along with the usual mis-information and mal-information. Nobody really knows. Any guesses for 2024? Here are a few of mine …

Most of us need to have some idea about what to expect for at least the near-future, which today would be the year 2024. Some few may be happy or stoic enough not to care much one way or the other, but the majority likely needs to have some idea of what’s coming. Or so I believe.

A good starting point may well be in professional futurist Karl Schroeder’s view that the purpose of prediction is minimizing surprise. This means to me that we should be looking most carefully at what could or might happen, not what we think “will” happen.

Another useful suggestion is to look at the present, aka 2023, and then seek trends or tendencies from that baseline — intuitively:

“I am incredibly bad at predicting the future; I am only smart enough to observe the present and listen to my intuition about tendencies.”

— Rem Koolhaas

A third element is my old favorite that tries to identify boundaries of possibility so that whatever might happen should lie somewhere within these. This of course does not handle black swan events (and situations) that are inherently unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing.

Way too many big things happening

Looking at 2024 through the fading view of 2023 sailing into history, we can easily identify a boatload of happenings to consider. Since this is a post and not a book, this boatload needs to have many things tossed overboard at the outset – for rescue, perhaps, at some future time.

 Here is my working list of possibilities as of very early New Year 2024:

  1. Big-nuclear World War III
  2. Wars almost everywhere but constrained
  3. Another Great Depression
  4. Debt-driven financial collapse
  5. Another pandemic
  6. Digital IDs and digital currencies (CBDCs)
  7. Climate crisis
  8. U.S. 2024 elections and civil war
  9. Multipolar world reorganization
  10. Immigration
  11. Dollar collapse and supply chain disruptions
  12. Black swan event

For each of these, I will offer a brief description of what 2024 might look like, followed by a bounding box of three reasonably-likely outcomes and my sense of relative likelihoods. You can substitute your own set of outcomes and likelihoods.

#1. Big-nuclear World War III

My belief is that we are already in WW III, but not close to this war going big-nuclear in a world-ending devastation. As I argued in a recent post, the-powers-that-be do not want to rule over a permanently devastated world. While a big-nuke situation could arise accidently through colossal stupidity or arrogance, It would be in effect a black swan. Our various rulers-and-wannabes will try hard to ensure that they end up with something to rule over.

Case Set #1.

Absent a big-nuke war, today seems like a potential transition from mini-wars and skirmishes to a few more serious, medium-level wars – such as the latest outbreaks in the Red Sea by Yemen and Houthis, plus a large U.S. naval force. The Israeli-Gaza situation is still very local but steadily getting worse or beyond.

Big-nuclear war.
Big-nuclear war.

#2. Wars almost everywhere but constrained

This one expands on the best-guess case in #1 above (likelihood 60%). I see it as a medium-level set of wars – with various geographical scopes and intensities. They might range from one or two localized but significant conflicts (e.g., Ukraine), with others mostly minor and localized, to several major but still-constrained wars (e.g., Ukraine, Middle East, Taiwan, …).

The Ukraine mess seems to be on the verge of sorting itself out in the background, with Russia achieving a messy win, sort of. The Israeli-Gaza situation, another serious mess, is highly localized but has opposition emerging globally – with protests all over, even in NYC. China may well take advantage this year of the turmoil to carry out what it has long been preparing for – a mostly-peaceful takeover of Taiwan.

Of the 110 armed conflicts being tracked by the Geneva Academy, more than 45 armed conflicts are currently taking place throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the following territories: Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Yemen and Western Sahara. Syria being the worst of these. It seems likely that such conflicts will spread further in 2024, but all will remain mostly-constrained, and of course mostly-peaceful.

Case Set #2.

Fear of localized wars flaring into a global conflict among superpowers, even without reaching a big-nuke endgame, seems likely to constrain even the most rabid belligerents. For at least this year, anyway. Small wars will enlarge and expand into more regional conflicts. War-wise, 2024 will be a major mess.

Human history, unfortunately, is very much a history of wars.

Wars almost everywhere, but still constrained.
Wars almost everywhere, but still constrained.

#3. Another Great Depression

The first “Great Depression” of 1929-1933 (or -1940) brought huge pain and suffering not just to the U.S., but pretty much globally. Unemployment skyrockets, many people starve and die of diseases, world war gets underway. This period, as I have noted in past, was a Strauss & Howe Fourth Turning – Crisis: 1929-1946. Our latest experience of a Fourth Turning began in 2008, and is nearing its climactic, theoretical, conclusion today.

Financial and economic collapse conditions seem to be moving along nicely, driven by colossal debt levels almost globally. Well, at least in the West – U.S., UK, EU, Canada, Australia, and a few others. This mess now seems unavoidable, even if continued major money printing delays it yet a bit longer.

Then we have the huge problem of “derivatives” – financial contracts based on the value of an underlying asset. Hedges, bets. Estimates of this market size range up to $600 trillion (notional), but only about $12 trillion net. These instruments figured significantly in the 2008 market crash because of their amplified reflection of underlying asset value variations. In a seriously unstable market, at some point the whole financial structure goes kablooey. Speaking technically, of course.

These, among the many factors involved in markets and economies, illustrate their current state of extreme fragility. One aspect of a kablooey situation is a major depression – decline in economic output plus very high unemployment. Today, the odds of a kablooey situation are scary-high.

Case Set #3.

Money-printing by almost every country in the world seems likely to push the day of reckoning out by at least a year, but probably not much longer. A crash and major depression are inevitable, with timing being the greatest uncertainty.

Another Great Depression.
Another Great Depression.

#4. Debt-driven financial collapse

Much of the world is buried in debt – debt that cannot and will not ever be paid off. Countries will either default on national debt obligations or they will hyperinflate to render the debt worthless. Think Venezuela most recently.

This driver of financial and economic mayhem was noted above as a potential trigger for another Greater (or even greater) Depression outcome. Impossibly-high national debts around the world, which are likely to get even more impossibly-higher, will increase further the risk of a financial collapse as the primary driver – trigger – of the subsequent global mess.

My sense is that this bad-news driver or trigger will occur first, and worse yet, is most likely. All of the other nastiness will follow. Financial collapses are rather easily arranged by the powers-that-be-and-wannabe. As they have always been. At this moment, these folks desperately need a system shock that will both protect them from punishment for their misdeeds and provide them with a powerful means of achieving near-absolute control and domination. Globally.

An immediate financial collapse is essential, and debt is a proven way to trigger it. Martial law is likely as well, since the collapse will impoverish huge numbers of people. Reactive blaming may cause some instances of civil war, which will be very helpful in justifying a harsh martial law lockdown.

Case Set #4.

You will note that my best-guess case and the worst case are together considered (by my otherwise optimistic and cheerful self) as very likely – 85%. This amounts in practice to almost certainty. Timing seems most likely in the next six months. The year 2024 could be a real monster.

Debt-driven financial collapse.
Debt-driven financial collapse.

#5. Another pandemic

Various authorities have been warning about this likelihood ever since the COVID-19 outbreak. While there seems to be no credible reason why another pandemic should occur so soon after, there is definitely a great deal of fear-mongering, justified or not. I keep getting the feeling that all of this has something to do with the Great Resetters’ and United Nations’ push toward a One World Government.

Regardless of the reality behind all of this, the pandemic-driven lockdowns and panics may well occur – and these will be real indeed. In fact, a COVID-2.0 happening may well serve the purposes of driving effective martial law and severe control measures. Such a happening may be blamed for the current global incidence of extremely high excess deaths (over historical levels). If you can imagine anyone nasty enough to do this sort of thing.

Case Set #5

I have noted in earlier posts the growing necessity for an enormous global shock to force world domination, or at least tight control over various large blocks. You need several coincident catastrophes to make this scheme work.

COVID 2.0 pandemic seems to be a likely component of any catastrophe set.
COVID 2.0 pandemic seems to be a likely component of any catastrophe set.

#6. Digital IDs and digital currencies (CBDCs)

I have written several times about the almost certain transition to digital IDs and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Much of this is likely to take place in 2024, since the bulk of the necessary infrastructure has already been created. The next step seems likely to be a financial crisis that forces the transition upon us.

This transition however is a huge undertaking since it must be executed globally within a fairly short period. If it isn’t, effective workarounds and strong opposition will have a chance to develop, and even to prevail.

The globalist (WEF, UN, WHO) goal of world domination requires strong control via CBDCs and digital IDs. This is really the underlying purpose of CBDCs and digital IDs. With the essential infrastructure for this transition largely in place today, it is ready to roll – even if it isn’t truly ready, as is so often the case with new technology. Delays seem almost inevitable.

Case Set #6.

As the above table shows, I’m expecting the transition to ultimately succeed. Timing during 2024 seems most likely, but delays may push it back a year to 2025.

Digital IDs are mostly with us today. Final step is a crisis-driven transition to CBDCs.
Digital IDs are mostly with us today. Final step is a crisis-driven transition to CBDCs.

#7. Climate crisis

Even though I believe (along with over 1,600 scientists including a couple of Nobelists) that the climate crisis is purely political with a globalist agenda, the intense media coverage and associated fear-mongering will cause many serious problems. Misallocation of scarce resources. Possible lockdowns. Civil strife.

“… it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” — William Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Supporters of a climate crisis care only about its ability to force changes upon us that further their ambitions toward global control, totally or in a few major political blocks. This is a pure propaganda play.

Case Set #7.

This one seems to be an essential part of a catastrophe set rather than anything that might be effective on its own. If you are going to create a world-changing situation, you need several drivers executed simultaneously.

The climate crisis may be fake, but efforts to use it for nefarious purposes will cause a great deal of mischief just the same.
The climate crisis may be fake, but efforts to use it for nefarious purposes will cause a great deal of mischief just the same.

#8. U.S. 2024 elections and civil war

There seems to be pretty general agreement that the 2024 U.S. elections are going to be a big mess no matter what. Election-tampering seems fully underway as 2024 gets rolling, probably by both sides. The U.S. Supreme Court seems highly compromised and ineffective. Outcomes will be decided locally and in the streets.

The 2024 elections are a major trigger for societal breakdown and intense civil strife. Seems almost intentional, given our recent past since 2016.

So many seem to consider our times as lawless or increasingly so. But we are actually inundated, overwhelmed, by laws and regulations that cover virtually everything in life. Hardly lawless. The problem of course is not just that these are increasingly ignored and flouted, but that they also mask all manner of troublesome agendas.

Against a background of increasing lawlessness, elections are likely to be chaotic at best. They will probably be held unless martial law is declared.

Case Set #8.

The U.S. is disintegrating as a nation. Factions are forming, sometimes locally and often within population masses. Think New York City. A chaotic 2024 seems assured. Effectively, civil war.

No 2024 elections, resulting in some kind of civil war? Chaos almost certain, regardless.
No 2024 elections, resulting in some kind of civil war? Chaos almost certain, regardless.

#9. Multipolar world reorganization

Thanks to some pretty amazing bungling by the West (U.S., UK, EU, Canada, Australia, and a few others), Russia and China have been forced to respond creatively to serious sanctions and restrictions related at least initially to the Ukraine mess. Instead of damaging Russia as intended, Russia and China, along with a growing number of Eurasian and Global South nations (known as the BRICS+), have written their own playbook. We are heading, like it or not, toward their multipolar world.

The BRICS+ bunch are rapidly pulling themselves away from sanctions tied to the West’s dollar-based hegemony and systems. BRICS+ nations are creating a multipolar nation-group that offers members considerable independence while gaining the benefits of focused cooperation. These are becoming known as the Global Majority due to the fact that they hold roughly 70% of the world’s population and a similar proportion of its land mass.

Case Set #9.

What is underway today seems most likely to prevail long-term. U.S. hegemony is dead, and the West members will struggle mightily to remain relevant. A BRICS+ multipolar world seems assured, but with none being dominant.

Xi Jinping: “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other… the planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.” 
Joe Biden: “We will not leave our future vulnerable to the whims of those who do not share our vision.”
Xi Jinping: “It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other… the planet Earth is big enough for the two countries to succeed.” 
Joe Biden: “We will not leave our future vulnerable to the whims of those who do not share our vision.”

#10. Immigration

The immigration mess seems pretty much worldwide, despite a U.S. focus on its southern land border. Immigrant flows here are reaching invasion numbers. Reports of many military-age immigrants suggest that a nefarious purpose may be in play. As always.

U.S. social structure is being changed inevitably and irrevocably. The old U.S. is gone. What the new entity replacing it will look like, no one really knows. It will be very different, almost certainly.

The flow of military-age men seems ominous, but there could be a number of objectives. One would be to simply speed up the breakdown so that a new order can be forced into existence. Another purpose could be to facilitate a takeover of the country by China, North Korea, and kin. Or it could simply be our version of what appears to be happening in many countries around the world.

Case Set #10.

The heavy flow of military-age men into the U.S. cannot be accidental. It has clearly been planned, with the only question that I can see is why? Probably for no good, unfortunately.

The U.S.-Mexico border situation steadily gets worse, while thousands of immigrants arrive into the U.S. each day.
The U.S.-Mexico border situation steadily gets worse, while thousands of immigrants arrive into the U.S. each day.

#11. Dollar collapse and supply chain disruptions

A U.S. dollar collapse seems almost inevitable. The growing power and direction by Russia and China away from dollar hegemony will assure the continued weakening of the dollar as a dominant trade currency. Timing is uncertain, but the outcome is not. It is happening today with surprising speed.

Ethan Huff via Natural News in December 2023 describes the situation: “DE-DOLLARIZATION: Russia officially calls on BRICS nations to ditch U.S. dollar”:

“It is time for all member nations of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) to drop the United States dollar in favor of local currencies for financial relations and settlements, according to Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov this week, at the Russia-China Financial Dialogue forum in Beijing.”

“At the meeting Siluanov met with Lan Fo’an, his Chinese counterpart, to discuss new ways to facilitate making trade payments in local currencies rather than the U.S. dollar as part of a long-term de-dollarization strategy that aims to unseat America from global trade dominance.”

Dollar usage collapse in world trade will hugely impact supply chains globally. Restructuring these to reflect the new trade reality will take years. Shortages of all kinds of goods, everywhere, will become a fact of life globally.

Case Set #11.

World trade is today undergoing huge dislocations as a result of inept handling of Ukraine-related sanctions by the West. This incredible bungling is restructuring world trade and economic relationships. We will have a new world emerging.

BRICS nations’ leaders. Friends today, but what about tomorrow? U.S. dollar collapse will not be without major consequences globally.
BRICS nations’ leaders. Friends today, but what about tomorrow? U.S. dollar collapse will not be without major consequences globally.

#12. Black swan event

Because there are so many people sensing an impending major but unknown and unknowable event or situation in 2024, it seems important to include this possibility here. Black swan events or situations as you know are unforeseen and unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing.

For most of us, COVID-19 was just such an event, despite quite a few doubts about its origins. Might we be in for a repeat performance, or something entirely different? CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge stated on “Face the Nation” that she had deep concerns of this nature (see Related Reading below for an except and link).

A black swan event seems unlikely to me, at least in the next year. Whatever happens will be foreseeable and largely planned. It will be major in impact and outcomes, regardless, but not unforeseen. The world acting as usual.

Case Set #12.

Events and situations most likely to occur in 2024 will almost certainly have been planning and initiated much earlier. Things were much accelerated in 2023 as it became apparent to our rulers-and-wannabes that opposition was growing rapidly in scope and power. No black swan, but just another big global mess for 2024.

Black swan events or situations are unforeseen and unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing.
Black swan events or situations are unforeseen and unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing.

What is the purpose of this exercise?

Glad you asked, if you did. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. While 2023 was not a great year for most of us normal people, year 2024 is beginning to look even worse according to quite a few of my favorite sources. But they offer various likely drivers for the coming bad news. This observation got me to wondering about the very rough likelihood of each one.

Note on terminology here: Probability refers to an event or situation that has a reasonably-determinable, objective, probability distribution. The kind that can be modeled for risk assessments. Likelihood refers to an event or situation that has no credible distribution of outcomes. Likelihoods are assigned, usually by guessing, and are often described using a set of three cases, as I have done.

Adding to the complexity is the fact that the future-drivers are far from independent. It is highly unlikely that just one or two will occur without triggering quite a few, and possibly almost all, of the others. Since the driver case set likelihoods are just guesses, there seemed to be little point in trying to mess with the added complexity of interdependence.

Enumerating a dozen likely drivers of 2024 happenings (there are probably quite a few more out there) provides a reference framework against which the actual happenings of 2024 may be compared as they emerge. As noted above, more than one of these drivers will be most prominent as a predictor of sorts for whatever happens in 2024.

The primary drivers will then offer at least a rough picture of what 2024 will inflict upon us. This in turn may allow us to take some protective, mitigating, or avoidance actions as best we can, given the short timeframes involved.

As someone once told me, there is often method in such madness.

Coping with whatever happens in 2024

As the above guesses, or likelihoods, suggest, the year 2024 seems almost certain to be rather challenging for most of us. Many preppers will find that they have prepared fully and effectively – but only for the past, not the future.

COVID-19 was a black swan situation for the majority, globally. It was not foreseeable in nature, magnitude, or timing. Well, except for an elite few who seemed to have some clairvoyant sense or precognition. These will undoubtedly make out fine in whatever 2024 throws at us.

We may well face another black swan, but even the events and situations we can foresee – as above – are mostly impossible to deal with as we might have done in past. Why is this?

Buy gold or other hard money items? They (the government) confiscated gold about a century ago, rather effectively and fully. They can surely do it again if necessary. Diversify your assets globally? What we are facing seems likely to be global in nature. Just ask the WEF (World Economic Forum) and its supporters and enablers.

The problem today is that we won’t know what to prepare for until it happens. And even then, we may not know for some time – if ever – what has actually happened. Think COVID: does anybody know the real story even after a few years of conjecture? We have at least a dozen theories from which to choose. Which one might be good to prepare for the next COVID?

Our reality is that we are facing a largely unknowable future. This means that we must somehow be able to handle it on a pretty much real-time basis. Our responses will have to be quick, flexible, and damage-minimizing. Or, as I have noted so many times in past posts – agile, adaptable, and resilient.

What does agile, adaptable, and resilient mean in practice?

Good concepts these, but quite tricky to execute in a time of great uncertainty. Take your earning ability, for example. Your current job, business, or other income sources could largely or completely vanish. Your ability to earn even a basic living could be severely impaired.

The last post addressed this kind of situation. Here is what it concluded as being virtually impossible to take away from you:

“What we can own, however, is a set of personal abilities and knowledge – things that are inside and part of us. Skills, contacts, experience, knowledge, beliefs, courage, and thinking belong only to each of us, and cannot be taken away. Real ownership can be derived from these.”

These four – agility, adaptability, resilience, and personal abilities and knowledge – are what we truly have to work with in dealing with any future. Other opportunities (and challenges) may appear from time to time, but they are simply part of the world that each of us must deal with.

Bottom line:

With a new year now underway, most of us need to have some idea about what to expect. While we may not be able to do much to prepare – preppers take note, we may be able to resist with some degree of effectiveness. Despite huge amounts of mis-information and mal-information, many people are rapidly getting wise to much of what’s going on. Quite a few of these have considerable power and resources – and especially courage.

New leaders will surely emerge, and many of these will generate strong pushback, attractive options, and smart responses. Completely unlike our current disastrous crop of rulers-and-wannabes.

“A ‘perfect storm’ is raging all around us, and our world is so close to plunging into a complete and utter state of chaos that even the mainstream media is talking about it.  The past several years have been a time when multiple major wars have begun, pestilences have paralyzed the entire planet, the worst global food crisis in modern history has erupted, and we have been hit by a seemingly endless series of natural disasters.  But there is a growing consensus that even more difficult times are ahead of us.  During a roundtable discussion on ‘Face the Nation’ on Sunday, CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge actually confessed that she is concerned that ‘2024 may be the year of a black swan event’ …”

“CBS News’ ‘Face the Nation’ held a roundtable on Christmas Eve, affording various talking heads an opportunity to make predictions for 2024. While most of the predictions were relatively banal, one among them stood out, prompting critics to puzzle over its possible significance.”

“Network correspondent Catherine Herridge, the wife of a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, suggested that ‘2024 may be the year of a black swan event. This is a national security event with high impact that’s very hard to predict.’”

“I agree with her, but I don’t think that it will be just one ‘black swan event’ that we will be facing.”

“Specifically, Herridge gave several reasons for why she felt the need to issue such a ‘dark’ prediction …”

“Herridge told the other CBS News panelists Sunday there were a number of concerns that factored into her ‘dark’ prediction, including that ‘this sort of enduring heightened threat level that we’re facing, the wars in Israel, also Ukraine, and we’re so divided in this country in ways that we haven’t seen before. And I think that just creates fertile ground for our adversaries like North Korea and China and Iran.’”

“Hmmm…”

“It seems like I have heard all of this somewhere before.”

“End-of-the-world doomsday predictions are a dime a dozen these days, but Harry Dent of the HS Dent Investment Management firm is pretty sure that 2024 will finally be the year that the over-inflated United States bubble markets collapse.”

“According to Dent, who appeared on Fox Business this week to discuss his predictions for 2024, the money printing madness that has been occurring since 2009 will eventually take its toll like never before in history.”

“’Since 2009, this has been 100 percent artificial, unprecedented money printing and deficits: $27 trillion over 15 years, to be exact,’ Dent said. ‘This is off the charts, 100 percent artificial, which means we’re in a dangerous state.’”

“’I think 2024 is going to be the biggest single crash year we’ll see in our lifetime. We need to get back down to normal, and we need to send a message to central banks. This should be a lesson I don’t think we’ll ever revisit. I don’t think we’ll ever see a bubble for any of our lifetimes again.’”

“In the latest salvo preparing the US for confrontation with China, Nicholas Burns flat out said, ‘I don’t feel optimistic about the future of US-China relations.’ Burns should know. He is Washington’s ambassador to Beijing.”

“The US stance on bilateral relations with China, according to Burns, is one of ‘strategic competition in the coming decades… vying for global power as well as regional power.’ Indeed, the US is preparing for war with China. High-ranking US Air Force General Mike Minihan foresees war as early as 2025.”

“Overarching the bilateral relationship from the Chinese perspective is a stance of friendly cooperative relations. A ‘common prosperity,’ they believe, can be built on three principles. First is mutual respect. A critical aspect of that pillar of mutual relations is not crossing the red lines of either of the two global powers. Second is peaceful coexistence. This entails a commitment to manage disagreements through communications and dialogue. And third is win-win cooperation. For example, increased trade with China boosted the annual purchasing power for US households.”

“That the US and China occupy such dominant positions in the world entails concomitant responsibilities. According to the Chinese, major countries have major responsibilities to humanity. They point out that global problems, such as climate change, cannot be solved without US-China cooperation. Indeed, the US and China together contribute to 40% of the planet’s current greenhouse gas emissions.”