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Friday, December 19, 2014

2-0-1-4, what is it that you have in store?

When I look back at the prognostications I offered in past years, I admit I am no Nostradamus. Of course, even Nostradamus was no Nostradamus. Most of his predictions came true only with the advantage of revisionist hindsight. For example, when he foretold a “scourge upon the earth” and people said he predicted the atom bomb, it’s a stretch.

According to a Yiddish expression, man plans and God laughs. Most cultures offer the same wisdom, that the future is uncertain and beyond our control. Not that I’m affirming the existence of a higher being, but we save our money, book our trips, plan our parties, fill in our calendars and then life, luck or a divine hand intervenes. We all know this, yet we look ahead and we expect the best. That’s the norm. A down payment on a new house, a three-year lease on a car, even buying green bananas, as the joke goes in Florida, require faith in the future.

So with the caveat that nobody knows nothin’ about anything when it comes to the future, here are my predictions, humbly submitted for your consideration.

I looked back to 1999, when, in this same space, I forecast the demise of retail department stores as we knew them. I think I was right; it’s just taking a little longer than I thought. In the 15 years since, Internet business has surged and buying habits have adjusted to technology. With a minute to spare, a smartphone and a click, you can make any purchase you want, and you can get it delivered at astonishing speed. I bought something online yesterday morning. I declined overnight shipping, but it came this afternoon anyway. I looked around for drones, but I think it was just FedEx.

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