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A TCI Book Review

Trends 2000 - How to Prepare for and Profit From the Changes of the 21st Century

Gerald Celente
Warner Books, New York, 1997

Gerald Celente, of the Trends Research Institute, maintains that the new millennium will usher in a new era for humanity - one of much upheaval as well as many opportunities for those in the right place at the right time, or with the foresight to get in on the ground floor of something new. Predicting neither Armageddon nor the Age of Aquarius, he holds that while the changes ahead will be wrenching, there is a great new era of prosperity looming ahead.

"This book is intended to guide you through the times to come: out of the twentieth century and into the first decades of the new millennium. Though we are certain the United States, along with the rest of the world, will be going through increasingly troubled times in the immediate future, this is emphatically not a doom-and-gloom book. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Powerful positive countertrends are already surfacing and visible, or more often, still hidden but bubbling beneath the surface. There is a very real global Renaissance in store. It is the unrecognized clash between the disruptive forces of the dying Industrial Age and the subtler constructive forces of the renaissance to come that we call Millennium Fever." (p.7)

To see the truth, he holds, we must learn to see through the 'junk news' (such as the shenanigans of O. J. Simpson or the latest antics of President Clinton) that obscures the reality of what goes on in the world, and serves to divert the attention of 70% of the population. (The other 30% - what he terms the 'Middle Muddle', is a group that is slightly more intelligent than the others and less likely to be diverted by junk news. However, this group is largely kept in a state of confusion by conflicting opinions on 'expert panels', 'think tanks' and the like.) The end result of all of this according to Celente, is that very few people can actually cut through the confusion and truly understand what is going on around them.

Fortunately for the reader, Celente and his brains trust back at the Trends Research Institute are among those few. Among their predictions are that the world will face some sort of nuclear disaster, (whether from terrorists possessing the bomb, or faulty reactors leaking or blowing up) so that in the longer term, humanity will abandon this form of technology (as it will the use of fossil fuels, for other reasons). Also, they see an increase in concern for a clean healthy lifestyle, and a return to the land (in many cases through some form of communal living). Family values will become important again. Oh, yes, and the United States will continue to dominate the world in all things that truly matter, such as hardware and software development.

Whether or not their mega-predictions come to pass, they do foresee a number of interesting specific opportunities for new businesses and enterprises that are worthy of consideration, as the following quotes from the book show:

  • The next dramatic shift in the momentum of the digital revolution will take place with the perfection of the videophone. (p.20)
  • Risk insurance will mean putting at least 10% of your savings into gold, with a diversified portfolio of gold stocks, bullion and coins. (p.49)
  • The $24 billion spent by Americans on weight control in 1995 will become $30 billion by the year 200, and will accelerate beyond that. Well positioned weight control businesses will grow fat as their clients grow lean. (p.92)
  • Longevity centers represent the cutting edge of the new health trend. Nobody has quite seen anything like them before. (p. 100)
  • Any water supply-related business represents a sound investment for the foreseeable future: This includes water sources, purification systems and supplies, distribution and marketing. (p.103)
  • On-line health service providers will continue to proliferate as public disenchantment with standard health delivery spurs entrepreneurs to find ways to make health information easily and cheaply accessible. HMOs providing coverage for alternative therapies will also prove attractive to both member patients and investors. (p.119)
  • The health/fitness/ nutrition trend, in its infancy and early childhood in the eighties and nineties, will go into an accelerated growth stage at the turn of the century. Driven by an aging baby-boom population, health will become a priority concern. (p.121)
  • Ardent life extension seekers will travel the globe searching for anti-aging therapies and lifestyles: drugs, herbs, minerals, elixirs, magic spells, and magic potions to stave off the consequences of old age. (p.123)
  • The new focus on health will become a powerful trend, creating both confusion and job opportunities: in response to an obvious and growing trend, a number of new professions will be created - among them, vitamin counselor. (p.125)
  • The trend for 'clean food' is in the early stages of its life cycle. It will accelerate rapidly and will continue to grow beyond the foreseeable future. Huge demand for clean food will produce a ripple effect along the food chain that will stretch from producer to consumer. (p.131)
  • For businesses looking to launch new products and services, the 'fast and easy' trend will be the main criterion for success. (p.133)
  • With demand so high and supply so short, clean land to grow clean food will be at a premium. Micro farm real estate will be among the most coveted commercial properties of the twenty-first century - especially if it has an ample supply of clean water on it. (p.136)
  • The American megamarketing mentality will be applied to the booming health trend. Entrepreneurs will take the best of the nineteenth-century general store, the best of the twentieth century supermarket, and put them together to produce something entirely new: the Healthmart. (p.139)
  • Fast-food health-food restaurants, virtually nonexistent in the nineties, will be the hottest segment in an otherwise-saturated fast food industry. (p.142)
  • Exurban commercial and residential real estate will be on an uptrend for at least twenty-five years. Buying into selected depressed small-town, exurban and country markets in the nineties will prove a sound investment strategy in the coming decades. (p.144)
  • By January 1, 2000, a resurgence of environmentally clean new industries based in the United States will be producing high-end wages for skilled workers. New products will be produced and new services developed to meet growing demand in on-trend fields: health, technology, communications, the environment, transportation, energy, housing, agriculture - and the booming home business business. (p.160)
  • Voluntary simplicity, an unrealizable counterculture ideal in the seventies, will become a reality and significant trend in the new millennium. Entrepreneurs able to provide goods or services that enhance the quality of life while at the same time saving money, will make money. (p.172)
  • Financial planning experts will find a growing business helping boomers prepare for the future. Up-and-coming generations will learn to make use of financial planning services earlier rather than later in life. (p.174)
  • Retiring boomers will generate a real estate and building boom south of the [US] border, seeking locales where a high quality of life can be lived on diminished means. Favored sites will be Cuba (shortly to become accessible) the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and other politically stable Caribbean and Central American countries. Low-end boomers will also be moving south for the very same reasons, but financial constraints will drive them to the poorer southern states within the US. Boomers looking toward retirement will do well to stake out claims in desirable areas before the landrush hits. Architects and builders serving this trend will prosper. (p.175)
  • Home garden-oriented businesses will experience tremendous growth in every sector - including vegetable, ornamental, and aquatic. This trend will be a bountiful producer of jobs, products and services. This trend is in the adolescent stage of its life cycle. (p.178)
  • Bringing health to the home will provoke new businesses, big and small, and a spectrum of new jobs for enterprising and inventive individuals. The trend is in the early stages of growth in its life cycle. (p.183)
  • Home improvement and remodeling from the architect/designer level to do-it-yourself will be a strong growth sector. (p.186)
  • The need and desire for healthy homes and environmentally sound architecture will generate new products and new specialties within traditional construction industries, trades and professions. (p.190)
  • Enterprising businesses and individuals will find ways to make livings from the home delivery trend. Many of the foot soldiers in the door-to-door corps will be recruited from the ranks of the middle managers and other downsizees unable to find work in their own fields or at their former income levels. (p.192)
  • Microbusinesses will amount to an entrepreneurial explosion over the next three decades. In the mid-nineties, the trend was only in its early growth stage, with successful microbusinesses taking on average 1 to 3 percent of total industry market share. (p.195)
  • Prosperous malls will increasingly function as social venues. Evacuated department stores and national retail chains will be converted into multipurpose, multimedia entertainment/fitness/sports/recreation units, catering primarily to a market ranging from pre-teenagers to young adults. (p.201)
  • Factory-direct or distributor-direct shopping will revolutionize American buying habits. Easy-to-access easy-to-use computer services, available to every American home, will make it possible to buy a wide array of mass-produced consumer products more cheaply and easily. (p.202)
  • By January 1, 2000, the nationwide return to nature and the great outdoors, a trend that began in the seventies but was slow to mature, will take hold and catch fire. Businesses and services participating in this trend can expect strong growth throughout the twenty-first century. (p.207)
  • Ecotourism will be the fastest-growing segment within the travel industry. Baby-boomers, Generation Xers and their children will fuel this trend. (p.211)
  • The need to care for elders will generate a lively business in building additions and freestanding cottages - including modular structures and mobile homes. Properties with expansion capabilities will have premium market value. The trend's buzzwords will be granny flats, ECHO housing (Elder Cottage Housing Opportunities), maintenance-free, one-level, and easy access. (p.227)
  • The renewed demand for boarding-houses and other forms of shared housing will make multi-family dwellings excellent investment opportunities, particularly in gentrified urban areas, stable suburbs and new exurban population centers. (p.228)
  • Once looked upon as camps for aging hippies, intentional communities (i.e. living experiences that combine personal growth with communal living) and Renaissance learning centers will appeal to a growing segment of aging baby boomers and maturing Generation Xers. The trend will grow steadily for at least the next fifteen years as more and more people seek stability and inner peace. (p.235)
  • New, lucrative mass-marketing possibilities will present themselves as Generation X acquires its own distinct personality. Marketers whose goods and services are non generation-specific will do well to stress commonalities rather than differences between boomers and Xers. (p.237)
  • Interactive, on-line learning will revolutionize education. Demand for 'distance learning' software, hardware and services will generate a mighty new component within the telecommunications and publishing industries. Especially in its early stages of development, distance learning will provide rich opportunities for small entrepreneurs, scholars, artists, educators and inventors, as well as for established communications giants. (p.249)
  • The growth of the home education and 'Interactive University' trends will accelerate rapidly once tele-videophony or other comparable multimedia-interface technologies become available and affordable. (p.253)
  • Austerity budgets coinciding with economic fallback and burgeoning educational technologies will disrupt all levels of the teaching profession. But despite layoffs and cutbacks, on-trend teachers and educators will find new professional opportunities opening up on the interactive home schooling network. (p.255)
  • Environmental desecration that crosses national boundaries will increasingly serve as a justification for war. Affected countries will declare such ecological violations enemy invasions. Equating environmental violations to international aggression will become a major foreign policy issue in the twenty-first century. Violators will be tried as the war criminals of the new millennium. Governments will use other nation's environmental violations as both grounds for imposing tariffs and trade embargoes. (p.268)
  • The successful businesses of the Global Age will practice a compassionate capitalism. Money will be made by individuals and firms capable of producing and marketing products and services that satisfy a world with changed values. Products that address real physical, emotional and artistic (quality of life) needs and do not destroy the earth in the process will be in demand. (p.271)
  • Like the Cold War before it, the war on crime will be lavishly funded by taxpayers. Businesses, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, anybody providing services relevant to the surveillance, arrest and incarceration of criminals will find roles to play in a major growth industry. The trend began in the mid-1980s and will see steady growth through 2010. (p.291)
  • Security and safety-oriented businesses and services will boom in the next two decades. The $70 billion hypersafety industry (1995) will continue to grow at 9 per cent per year through the turn of the century. (p. 292)
  • The United States will be the epicenter of the global Renaissance. Its cultural life will have the richness and diversity of the Italian Renaissance, but in an appropriately high-tech format. (p.298)
  • The United States will continue to reign as world leader in hardware and software development beyond the foreseeable future. This dominance will oblige the rest of the world to communicate in cyber-English. (p. 299)
  • By 2000, a trend towards manufacturing products that satisfy and address real physical, emotional, and artistic (quality of life) needs will enter into the growth stage of its' life cycle. An enlightened consumer society driven by back-to-basics values will replace the society manipulated by Madison Avenue¹s 'Hidden Persuaders'. (p.301)
  • Smartwear will bridge the gap between casual and formal. It will be appearance-enhancing but personalized and comfortable (what's smart for me). Computerization plus declining wage scales will bring custom tailoring back into an affordable price range. The creative will design their own smartwear; millions of others will consult or collaborate with a new corps of personal dressmakers and tailors. (p.302)
  • Corporations that become sincere and adventurous patrons of the arts will not only play a role in enriching society's emotional and spiritual life, but will also see their support and sincerity favorably reflected in their balance sheets. A grateful public will be quick to show its appreciation with its own form of support. (p.304)
  • The energy revolution (which is foreseen to be an amalgam of cold fusion, solar energy, geothermal energy and wind energy) will be the single-biggest investment opportunity of the twenty-first century. Its ramifications will extend to practically every aspect of human and planetary life. To profit from the trend, potential investors should start familiarizing themselves with the field thoroughly and immediately, and keep abreast of developments before they become official. (p. 306)
  • The chain of ancillary industries, products and services that depend on or sustain the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries will go down with them - mining, drilling, refining, processing, delivering, storage, equipment. Public utilities will cease to exist. On-trend investors with money in these industries should monitor events closely to safeguard their holdings. Threatened industries should reinvent their mission statements. (p.308)

As is evident from the foregoing, the book contains many nuggets of information, particularly relating to new opportunity areas. However, at the very end of the book, Celente reminds us that humanity has some trials to go through before this new Renaissance is upon us:

"On January 1, 2000, it was not yet apparent to everyone that light was being woven into the dark and violent backdrop of destructive and devolutionary trends. Yet it would not be so very long before the golden threads of Renaissance thought, emotion and values took command of the new millennium tapestry.

Ideas had changed. People changed. Everything changed. The Global Age was born." (p.312)




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