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

— Lao Tzu

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

— Eric Hoffer

“Complex systems are hard to understand, predict and control.”

— Dominic Cummings

“It might be useful to be able to predict war. But tension does not necessarily lead to war, but often to peace and to denouement.”

— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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

— John Lloyd

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

— Niels Bohr

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.”

— Peter Drucker

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

— W. Timothy Garvey

“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

“It is not predictions but plans that make the future. If you want predictions, it is because you do not have the ability to make a plan and fulfill it.”

— Jaggi Vasudev

Nobody can predict the future, right? Especially with much of the world in chaos and worse. Predictions will be mostly wrong or misleading. But if you can’t predict, how can you plan and act? You could assume a near-future as best you can, and stay flexible in case your assumptions are way off your unfolding reality. But there is a better way …

And no, it is not a “most-likely” case favored by planners. There is no such thing as “most likely” since probability estimates are only guesses, at best. And they are worse than useless in times of black swans. Like today …

A better way? Here’s my suggestion …

Start with what you know for sure – what is happening today or very recently. The past is certain. It may take some digging to find out what has actually happened and what the current situation is, but in most cases this is feasible. Despite misinformation, propaganda, and experts.

This requires a willingness to seek out objectively-verifiable facts where possible, not agenda-driven views, propaganda, and biased “experts”. And beliefs are not facts.

Then, extrapolate your current situation so you can plan and execute – in the near-term. Carefully, and in small learning steps.

Simple enough, yes? But, as always, the devil and worse is in the details.

Predictions are really assumptions

Not acting is rarely an option. Like living. Acting happens, no matter what may be going on in the mess around us known as “our world”. We plan and act based on our current set of working assumptions about what may be going on in “our world”, whatever it may be.

Our working assumptions must be anchored in what seems to be going on today and in the recent past, and then extrapolated some limited distance ahead – our near-future – to provide a planning and action context. Black swans – events and situations that are unforeseeable in nature, magnitude, and timing – may appear, but these, as they occur, will just shift our planning and action baseline, or assumptions.

What if our working assumptions appear to be wrong? This would be vital information about what may actually be happening. Our world is telling us that our assumptions need to be adjusted in some manner as a result of something going on that we had not expected.

In other words, our working assumptions are in practice tentative. They must be routinely checked against their reality context, and adjusted appropriately if a significant deviation is detected. Definitely more frequently than annually. How about monthly? Changes today are occurring quite rapidly today, unlike the not-so-distant past.

Start with the big-picture assumptions

Like it or not, the big picture is going to impact us hugely. This is underway today, not something in the future. Our assumptions, consequently, should be about near-term paths – trends – in each of these. Significant changes in other words.

And just what big-picture assumptions seem relevant for most of us today? Here’s a convenient set to get us started:

Matt Smith via Doug Casey’s International Man offers these big-picture assumptions: “11 Assumptions About The Future”:

“Amidst this chaotic phase, it’s impossible to predict even the near future. The best we can do is form a hypothesis and orient our actions around it.

“I developed a set of assumptions about the future to build a framework of understanding. I use that framework to identify what IS in my control and what is NOT in my control.”

“The things outside our control, we can stop worrying about. They’re not up to us. Instead, our concern is what IS in our control and all our energy and resources should be dedicated there.”

“Before I get to the assumptions I’m operating under. Let me say – They are assumptions not predictions. I could be wrong. Hell – I hope I’m wrong. But with nearly three years of the “Great Reset” under our belt, I bet you’ll agree – they have merit.”

“With that in mind, here are the 11 assumptions I’m using today to guide my actions.”

1. Less Freedom of movement. There will be more effort so to restrict and regulate our freedom of movement. From Vax passports to increased visa requirements and 15-min city initiatives – a grid is being constructed to regulate our freedom of movement.”

2. A CBDC is coming. Cash will be eliminated. How restrictive it may end up being, I don’t know. But, CBDC is a foregone conclusion. Timing? BIS publishes estimates of 14 retail CBDC and 9 wholesale by 2030. And there are indications that the major economies are working to be ready to deploy by 2025.”

3. The digital ID is already here. Biometrics are the future. If you have a government issued ID associated with your photograph, you are in the system already. How the ID is deployed and enforced is the only question.”

4. GFC 2.0 and/or the Greater Depression. Timing is hard. But, can any thinking person imagine how the outcome can be avoided altogether. Simon Hunt suggests a market pullback of up to 30% between now and early 2024 followed by a pump and a deflationary wipeout in 2025.”

5. Most of my financial assets will disappear at some point. Inflation, bank bail-in, market wipe out, or Great Taking. I don’t know the cause, but I assume physical assets are where I need to be, ultimately.”

“6. Increasing crime and disorder. You’ve seen the videos. Whether, driven by economic desperation, mass migration, the inversion of law, or in the name of social justice. Crime and disorder will grow and lead to greater physical threats to our lives and property from our fellow man. This makes urban environments, especially but not exclusively, a real risk.”

7. Supply constraints are increasing around all commodities – from food to energy. Tight supplies are showing up everywhere. Live Cattle, long dormant, hit an all-time high recently. Oil Prices are up 30% in the last three months. 40% of Argentina’s wheat crop is in poor to fair condition and protectionist policies are on the rise globally.”

8. WW3 is coming. A good case can be made that it’s already begun. The Army War College recently published a study suggesting that the All-Volunteer Force had reached the end of its useful life. With the military struggling with recruiting, conscription is likely at some point.”

9. Censorship and Digital Control will enter a new phase. Deplatforming, de-banking, shadow banning, and social media account suspensions will increase. Centralized digital services of all kinds should be considered suspect and, very likely, dangerous to use in the future.”

UN Chief calls “dis-information” a clear and present global threat.
UN Chief calls “dis-information” a clear and present global threat.

10. The US election – regardless of the outcome – is an inflection point and potentially a flash point. IF it happens, the outcome will not be accepted by half of the country. I’ve heard from more than one source, publicly and privately, that there may not be a 2024 election. Who knows? We can be sure of is that running up to and shortly after the election, things could get wild. In advance of the 2020 election we had Covid and BLM. Shortly after, J6 and state overreach. What will 2024 bring?”

“11. There is a war happening today. It’s a war on us. The primary battleground is within the sphere of 5GW – informational/psychological. Where I’ve been wrong in the last three years, it’s been in my assumption that kinetic coercion would be utilized. As we can see, much progress has been made in the Great Reset without the need for kinetic tactics. For most of this cycle, they will rely on this same approach. If/When we see a move toward kinetic force, we should be alarmed because we will have entered a new and more dangerous phase.”

You might react at this point as I did … “Is that all? Nothing to worry about here, mostly.” And while none of these are under my control, I’ll still be impacted hugely by each of them.

Focusing these wide-ranging assumptions for our purposes

Investment guru Casey may need such assumptions for his big-picture business, but which ones are most important for us normal folks doing normal things? My approach, where possible, is to pick out the top three, and then add others later if and as needed:

1. Less Freedom of movement: This will just be more hassle, like so many other hassles that constitute life.
… DROP

2. A CBDC is coming: Yes it is, and this is a very big deal that will affect us all in very many ways.
ADD

3. The digital ID is already here: Yes it is, and this is a very big deal that will affect us all in very many ways.
ADD

4. GFC 2.0 and/or the Greater Depression: Global Financial Crisis is underway today and will hugely affect virtually everyone.
ADD

5. Most of my financial assets will disappear at some point: Not likely in my view, but diversifying them is always smart.
… DROP

6. Increasing crime & disorder: This seems cyclical. We are in a getting-worse phase, but it will turn before much longer as control tightens.
DROP

7. Supply constraints are increasing around all commodities: This is just business as usual. Another cyclical and mostly local problem.
DROP

8. WW3 is coming: I believe WWIII has begun and will intensify near-term, but it won’t go big-nuclear. If it does, all bets are off.
DROP

9. Censorship and Digital Control will enter a new phase: Items 2 and 3 above really address this important trend.
DROP

10. The US election – regardless of the outcome – is an inflection point: As are many elections. Just life as usual. Cyclical stuff.
DROP

11. There is a war happening today: Yes – both physical and informational/psychological. Life as usual absent big-nukes. This one really addresses The Great Reset underway today. Again, part of 2 and 3.
DROP

Lo and behold, we have just three big-picture working assumptions to deal with, as was the goal.

Step #1: Define the current status of each of these

Recall that the suggested game plan for “predicting the future” begins with figuring out where things are today – with respect to our set of now-three “working assumptions” (aka predictions). The first two – CBDCs and digital IDs – are closely linked and deeply embedded in The Great Reset and its kin. The third – global financial crisis – is underway and being handled by governments and banks everywhere with the usual fanatical agendas, huge egos, unbelievable incompetence, and zero real understanding. Or worse.

Using even these three for planning and action requires the additional step of figuring out as best we can just how each may affect ourselves and our businesses and organizations.

This is a bit tricky, as you might have guessed.

CBDCs and digital IDs – control and surveillance – are effective only if the money competition is removed. This means that cash and cryptos among other anonymous monetary system bits and pieces must be eliminated. While great progress toward this nasty end has been made, we are still happily far from the no-competition state. The more the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe push for no-competition, the greater the real pushback will be.

What the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe need now is some kind of state of emergency where laws and constitutions and similar inconveniences can be ignored. Kind of like the COVID-19 lockdowns, but more extensive and rigid. It may even appear to some that the COVID-19 happening was a pilot test.

In any case, getting a tight global lockdown pretty much requires a combination of another pandemic, a climate crisis, and a financial collapse. Simultaneously. Things would have to appear so bad that the perpetually-scared will call for immediate action and no exceptions. Martial law kind of action.

What are the odds of this happening? Until quite recently, I would have said “quite low”, but I now believe that the bad guys have waited too long to pull the trigger. Resistance – serious resistance – is building up very fast. They can no longer finesse their grandiose plans into reality. They need a big – very big – happening to pull out all the stops.

And just what might such a “big happening” be, one might wisely ask? Well, of course, a seriously-big world war. Starting rather soon.

The trouble here is that wars always have had uncertain and unexpected paths and outcomes. They are huge gambles by driven, but largely incompetent, people. See for example this post.

My working assumptions aka predictions for the near-future

For whatever it may be worth – perhaps mainly as a starting point for others, I think that this is what will happen between now (late 2023) and election time 2024:

  • A global financial collapse, with CBDCs and digital IDs taking over
  • Another pandemic, plus intensified climate-crisis hysteria
  • A much-expanded major war (WW III) – NATO, Taiwan, Israel?

These I think will happen pretty much concurrently, as time has run out for our current crop of globalists and kin. See for example this recent post.

I still do not see a max-war – nuclear – because so much of the world is now moving rather peacefully toward the Eurasian multi-polar global rearrangement. But, accidents happen.

So, what might these assumptions aka predictions mean for an individual, organization, or business in terms of near-term planning and action?

  1. Income (business) diversification
  2. Location diversification
  3. Small-step actions
  4. Flexible commitments
  5. Physical (earning) assets
  6. Focus on essential needs (markets)
  7. Improved agility

These are pretty general, so that others may be needed to address your specific situations and vulnerabilities.

Our current version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, Famine, War, and Conquest): Financial Collapse, COVID 2.0, Climate Crisis, WW III?
Our current version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Death, Famine, War, and Conquest): Financial Collapse, COVID 2.0, Climate Crisis, WW III?

Planning and action ideas for a tough future

None of the above working assumptions aka predictions about our near-term big-picture world are under our control. All we can do in practice is to make ourselves, organizations, and businesses as resistant and resilient as we can to whatever happens, including the odd black swan visit.

What if none of this happens, or what happens is very different from our assumptions? Then we may have prepared excessively. Which is worse: over-preparation, or getting hit while still unprepared? Umm …

Remember that part of this exercise is regular – monthly – updating of what is happening vs. what we assumed (predicted) would be happening. If the world is moving away from what we have assumed (predicted), we can adjust our working assumptions (predictions) accordingly.

You may well have much less apocalyptic assumptions about the near-term, so you have to follow what you believe. We both may be wrong.

The next step is to figure out how each of these might affect us or our businesses and organizations. This in my experience typically involves some kind of business simulation covering a range of likely impacts from our working assumptions. My favorite is Forio’s Epicenter platform. This quickly gets quite technical and business-specific – far from something we might address here.

Let’s skip then to the things an individual, business, or organization might do to reduce vulnerability to impacts and to remove areas of potential weakness.

Income (business) diversification

Having a reasonable diversity in sources of income is always a good idea. Especially since the future is inherently unpredictable. Diversity means that if any one or more of your income sources gets damaged or eliminated, you will still have a solid remaining base of earnings.

This may mean reducing reliance on one or more earnings sources. A good rule of thumb here is that none of these should exceed about 25% of your total earnings. In practice, this would likely require adding new sources (businesses). Note that you probably don’t want your income sources to be interdependent, so that if one falls, the rest don’t get dragged down as well.

Location diversification

This is the geographical equivalent to income source diversification. Your production facilities and customer bases should not be concentrated in just one or two places. Again, the 25% rule of thumb could be used to identify the maximum target size for location-concentrated units.

These diverse locations could be within the U.S. or, better yet, at relatively secure points globally. Today, this probably means just BRICS+ nations.

Small-step actions

I can’t mention this one often enough. It involves avoiding major long-term commitments, and focusing on initiatives that can be implemented in small steps. Small steps, with frequent pauses for assessment and learning, seem to be absolutely essential in our chaotic world.

Flexible commitments

This one in practice means keeping commitments of all kinds sufficiently flexible so as to allow regular adjustments as situations demand. You might for example want to prepare a list of explicit and implicit obligations that can be reviewed regularly to see if adjustments may be required.

Physical (earning) assets

Fixed assets and financial assets may be damaged or even eliminated under various circumstances that fall under our working assumptions. You want to have your financial resources heavily committed to physical assets that offer stable earnings. Note that gold, a commodity, offers only speculative earnings (and losses).

Focus on essential needs markets

In this chaotic world where lockdowns may well become a routine feature, you want to be in occupations and businesses that are mostly likely to be deemed “essential” by the-powers-that-be-and-wannabe. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that these are most likely to be found within the bottom two layers – physiological and safety. Products and services that people will not willingly do without, even under awful circumstances like lockdowns.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs defines “essential”.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs defines “essential”.
Improved agility

Agility refers to an ability to change quickly and effectively when required. So many aspects of life and business involve linkages and commitments that cannot be changed except over the long-term. You want to have as few of these as possible while dealing with a chaotic, black-swan world.

These are very brief notes but you will easily see how to apply them to your own situation.

“Why bother predicting anything? We’ll make out just fine.”

Sorry, but the bad news in taking this position is that you just predicted something – something hugely important. Your implicit prediction here is that things won’t get too bad, and that you are strong and agile enough to handle whatever comes along. Hubris, perhaps?

This is of course a legitimate prediction set, but it needs to be checked regularly against your evolving reality. Will you do this? Unlikely, I’m afraid.

My guess is that the vast majority of individuals, businesses, and organization will work with exactly this implicit, default, prediction set. The consequence is likely to be learning the hard way, assuming survival. Non-survival is definitely the hard way to test your assumptions aka predictions.

Bottom line:

It is not possible to predict – reliably – even the near-term future. Predictions are in practice either guesses or assumptions. The latter are necessary as a basis for planning and action. Acting without explicit assumptions is really just gambling. Assumptions based on a careful and regular examination of current events, situations, and trends can provide an invaluable anchored baseline for use in planning and action.

In a fast-changing, chaotic world such as we have today, frequent updating of a set of working assumptions is vital. As a deviation is noticed between one or more assumptions and your evolving reality, you obtain some additional information about whatever may be going on in the real world. Assumptions would then be adjusted to reflect this new information.

Plans and actions for a fast-changing chaotic world that provides black swan events and situations for variety must be agile and adaptive (and creative).

Eight Predictions.
Individual liberty is at risk again. What may lie ahead was projected in November 2016 when the WEF published ‘8 Predictions for the World in 2030.’ According to the WEF’s scenario, the world will become quite a different place from now because how people work and live will undergo a profound change. The scenario for the world in 2030 is more than just a forecast. It is a plan whose implementation has accelerated drastically since with the announcement of a pandemic and the consequent lockdowns. “

“According to the projections of the WEF’s ‘Global Future Councils,’ private property and privacy will be abolished during the next decade. The coming expropriation would go further than even the communist demand to abolish the property of production goods but leave space for private possessions. The WEF projection says that consumer goods, too, would be no longer private property.”

“If the WEF projection should come true, people would have to rent and borrow their necessities from the state, which would be the sole proprietor of all goods. The supply of goods would be rationed in line with a social credit points system. Shopping in the traditional sense would disappear along with the private purchases of goods. Every personal move would be tracked electronically, and all production would be subject to the requirements of clean energy and a sustainable environment. “

“In order to attain ‘sustainable agriculture,’ the food supply will be mainly vegetarian. In the new totalitarian service economy, the government will provide basic accommodation, food, and transport, while the rest must be lent from the state. The use of natural resources will be brought down to its minimum. In cooperation with the few key countries, a global agency would set the price of CO2 emissions at an extremely high level to disincentivize its use.”

“In a promotional video, the World Economic Forum summarizes the eight predictions in the following statements:

  1. People will own nothing. Goods are either free of charge or must be lent from the state.
  2. The United States will no longer be the leading superpower, but a handful of countries will dominate.
  3. Organs will not be transplanted but printed.
  4. Meat consumption will be minimized.
  5. Massive displacement of people will take place with billions of refugees.
  6. To limit the emission of carbon dioxide, a global price will be set at an exorbitant level.
  7. People can prepare to go to Mars and start a journey to find alien life.
  8. Western values will be tested to the breaking point.”

Umm – already well off the mark in many respects.

“Artificial intelligence is changing our world at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.  If you would have asked me a decade ago if I would live to see artificial intelligence create a world class piece of art or a full-length feature film, I would have said no way.  But now those are simple tasks for artificial intelligence to accomplish.  So what is going to happen once AI becomes millions of times smarter and millions of times more powerful than it is today?  Given enough time, AI would take over every area of our lives.  Our world is definitely crazy right now, but fifty years from now it would resemble something out of an extremely bizarre science fiction novel if AI is allowed to continue to develop at an exponential rate.”

“AI can already perform most simple tasks much better and much faster than human workers can, and multiple studies have concluded that millions of jobs are at risk of being lost …”

“Artificial intelligence also threatens to transform our personal relationships …”

“What will this do to our society? There is already a raging epidemic of loneliness among our young men, and it is getting worse with each passing day …”

… another Umm – starts off with a popular view of AI, and extrapolates imaginatively, but probably way off the mark from there …

AI, whatever that may actually be, is taking over – maybe.
AI, whatever that may actually be, is taking over – maybe.