Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Web Log - June, 2004

Summary The Darfur genocide in Sudan, terrorist threats in Saudi Arabia, Will Smith's movie I, Robot and the coming "Singularity," increases in public debt.

The race and gender wars are abating

The amount of public polarization along issues of race, gender and crime has plummeted in recent years, according to a column by Robert Samuelson in today's Washington Post.

This isn't surprising, for reasons we gave in an earlier column, The New Sexual Revolution. The reason that the pendulum is swinging back on culture war issues is because such swings are generational, and because today's public is much more concerned about a potential Islamist terrorist attack than about whether Kobe Bryant's rape accuser is lying or not.

However, the article also points out that there is one small demographic group that still cares about the culture wars: Politicians. They keep talking up race and gender issues, even though the public is largely uninterested. "The result is a growing disconnect between politics -- and political commentary -- and ordinary life. Politics is increasingly a world unto itself, inhabited by people convinced of their own moral superiority: conspicuously, the religious right among Republicans; and upscale liberal elites among Democrats," according to Samuelson. (30-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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Furtive armed forces buildup continues

The Army's plan to call up some 6,000 retired and discharged soldiers continues the three-year trend line of a larger war effort. The Pentagon had announced plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq, but instead is increasing them by a variety of techniques -- mainly by "stop-loss orders" that extend the involuntary active duty time for keeping National Guard and Reserve troops. Now the Army is calling up Individual Ready Reserve category of reservists for service.

The problem that's worried me for two years is American overconfidence and hubris. It's amazing to me that I can't remember even a single television pundit or newspaper pundit express any doubt that America can win any war any time. (Senator Kerry, and those who think we're failing in Iraq, blame Bush for sending in too few troops.)

This is caused by the generational change in leadership that took place around the year 2000. Ten years ago, all the major senior business, government and education leaders were risk-averse people from the generation that grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Today, all the major leaders are from the risk-seeking, arrogant, hubristic, narcissistic, self-assured "baby boomer generation."

So, as conflict levels continue to increase throughout the Mideast, and tension grows in Taiwan and Korea, America is so over-confident that we're not willing to take the necessary steps to prepare for the future (i.e., a draft). Instead, the use of reservists is an almost furtive way of increasing the size of the armed forces without anybody noticing.

What will happen if a major new conflict situation arises somewhere, requiring American forces? We'll be almost totally unprepared for it. (29-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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Darfur genocide: The UN is completely irrelevant

It was just three months ago that Kofi Annan said "never again," referring to the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Related Articles

Darfur Genocide
U.N. commander claims that the Darfur war is over: The war has turned into "very low intensity" clashes and banditry,... (30-Aug-2009)
Darfur war takes a major turn, as Sudan expels aid groups.: Oxfam, CARE, Save the Children, and numerous other aid groups... (11-Mar-2009)
Sri Lanka crisis war appears close to a genocidal climax.: There are two crisis wars in the world today: Darfur and Sri Lanka.... (27-Dec-2008)
Chad and Sudan may be close to a declaration of war: The peace agreement signed in March seems to be falling apart.... (18-Jun-2008)
Sudan's Darfur war expands as Khartoum comes under attack by rebels: What were they thinking? everyone's asking. But it DOES make sense.... (14-May-2008)
China walks Olympics / Darfur tightrope after Steven Spielberg resigns: Steven Spielberg's resignation earlier this week as artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympics... (23-Feb-08)
The BBC zings America for not sending troops to Darfur: Which do they want - intervention or non-intervention?... (23-Feb-08)
Post-election massacre in Kenya raises concerns of tribal war: Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic violence since Monday,... (2-Jan-08)
President Jimmy Carter has near-altercation in Darfur: Generationally, Darfur is ten years ahead of Burma.... (5-Oct-07)
Still tilting at windmills, the UN will send "peacekeepers" to Darfur: What "peace" is there to keep in this massive crisis civil war?... (3-Aug-07)
Ban Ki Moon blames Darfur genocide on global warming: Damn! He's blaming the Darfur crisis civil war on America!!... (19-Jun-07)
Senator Joe Biden wants to move troops from Iraq to Darfur civil war: Saying on Meet the Press that we should remove troops from Iraqi "civil war,"... (29-Apr-07)
President Bush gives Sudan "one last chance" to end Darfur genocide: But is Steven Spielberg aiding the genocide?... (19-Apr-07)
U.N. Court blames Serbian people, but not country of Serbia, for 1995 Srebrenica genocide: This is the essence of a generational "crisis war."... (27-Feb-07)
Women's groups protest rape as a weapon of war in Darfur: As the civil war in Darfur continues to grow more violent,... (11-Dec-06)
Kofi Annan makes strongest statement yet on Darfur: The current world's only generational crisis war may be close to an explosive climax.... (12-Sep-06)
UN: Darfur became much worse "while we were watching Lebanon and Israel": Amnesty International reports that Sudan's new military buildup is precursor to a "catastrophe"... (29-Aug-06)
Fighting in Darfur has increased since a peace deal was signed in May.: Palestinians and Israelis will soon go the way of the people of Sudan and Darfur.... (7-Jul-06)
Survivors commemorate the genocidal 1995 Srebrenica massacre: After Rwanda, Srebrenica and Darfur, United Nations says "Never again" - again.... (12-Jul-05)
UN declares that Darfur war was "not genocide," in the most sickeningly cynical story of the year: If mass murders and rapes and forced relocation of millions of people isn't genocide, then what is?... (01-Feb-05)
Explosive conflict seems imminent in Darfur, Sudan: Large quantities of arms and ammunition have poured into Darfur in the last two weeks... (17-Dec-04)
The six most dangerous regions in the world today.: There are six regions that could lead the world into a new world war. NOTE: This article also contains a lengthy summary of the Generational Dynamics theory and Forecasting Methodology. (20-Nov-2004)
United Nations: Darfur falling into anarchy: The Sudan government is losing control of areas of Darfur,... (4-Nov-04)
Five African nations oppose intervention in Darfur: Many months ago, I said that the United Nations would never stop the Darfur genocide, which is a force of nature.... (19-Oct-04)
Today's slow-motion genocide in Darfur recalls the lightning quick genocide in Rwanda in 1994: Why do these things always seem to happen in Africa? Understanding Africa's geography explains why. (22-Aug-2004)
Jesse Jackson calls for sending American troops to Darfur: You see how it works? Everyone has a war they like.... (27-Jul-04)
Darfur saga like depraved game of musical chairs: As I've said before, I've gotten good at turning off my own feelings of horror... (19-Jul-04)
"We want to create a light-skinned baby.": That's what a raped black woman told Congressman Frank Wolf when he visited Darfur.... (8-Jul-04)
Darfur genocide: The UN is completely irrelevant: It was just three months ago that Kofi Annan said "never again," referring to the 1994 Rwanda genocide.... (28-Jun-04)

I doubt that anyone really believed "never again," but I also doubt that many believed that it would take only a few weeks to prove the United Nations Secretary General wrong.

Darfur - southwest region of Sudan <font size=-2>(Source: BBC)</font>
Darfur - southwest region of Sudan (Source: BBC)

By the end of winter, some one million black Africans from Darfur will die of either starvation or execution by Sudanese government-backed Jingaweit (Janjaweed) militias. Many of them will die in Chad, where they fled when the militias showed up to raze the towns, mass-murder the men and rape the women. In other words, a typical, everyday secular genocide is in progress.

One thing that Generational Dynamics tells us is that this kind of genocide is a force of nature, and that the UN can no more stop it than they can stop a typhoon. (28-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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Ultimatums make me very nervous

Saudi Arabia's King Fahd has evidently issued an ultimatum to the terrorists to turn themselves. What happens if they don't do it?

The beheadings have really raised the level of Mideast conflict, especially in Saudi Arabia.

Countries that issue ultimatums always make me nervous, and King Fahd evidently issued an amnesty and ultimatum to the terrorists today to turn themselves in within a month. The problem with such an ultimatum is that if no terrorists turn themselves in, the King Fahd will be humiliated, and will be politically forced to resort to an armed response, and that could spiral out of control into war.

Separately, the violence in southern Russia in the Caucasus region appears to be escalating. Georgia's South Osettia province is becoming increasingly tense, while just north over the mountains the ten-year-old war between Russia and the republic of Chechnya has spread to the neighboring Ingushetia. Soon we may hear some ultimatums issued there as well. (23-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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"I, Robot" movie trailer with Will Smith is fun to watch

This movie portrays a future world where super-intelligent humanoid robots are our servants. The movie is scheduled for release on 16-July. If you'd like to have some fun, take a look at the trailer for the movie.

The movie takes place in 2035. The trailer shows scenes of robots walking dogs, hugging children, and performing other chores.

The plot thesis is that the robots have been developed with strict adherence to Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, which require robots to protect, and never harm, human beings. The laws appeared in a series of 1940s short stories that are now available in book form

In the movie, it suddenly turns out the guy who designed the robots has been murdered, and the perpetrator is apparently a robot. Is there a bug in the robot implementation? Did the robots evolve on their own? These are the "big questions" that the movie poses.

The trailer doesn't tell how the movie ends, of course, but we can assume that Will Smith will conquer the malevolent robots and get the girl, and the robots will be happily restored to the state of strictly obeying Asimov's laws, and that everyone will live happily ever after.

It's all poppycock, of course. The 2035 time frame for intelligent robots performing chores for humans is OK, though I'd estimate the mid-2020s. But Asimov's laws will never be implemented. Quite the opposite: The first wide-scale application of super-intelligent computers will be for warfare. How do I know this? I know it because every new technology is used first for war.

The fascinating question is: When will the issue of super-intelligent computers reach the public's radar? By 2030 or so, super-intelligent computers will be more intelligent than humans, and able to improve themselves. By 2050, they'll be as much more intelligent than human beings as humans are more intelligent than dogs and cats. Scientists have been writing about this (called "the Singularity") since the 1980s, but the public has been blissfully unaware. What event will finally trigger public interest? Perhaps this movie? (21-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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PIMCO bond fund manager Bill Gross expresses concern

The pace of foreboding analyst opinions seems to be increasing.

Total credit market debt <font size=-2>(Source: PIMCO)</font>
Total credit market debt (Source: PIMCO)

One more major analyst is saying that the economy is becoming increasingly unstable. Bill Gross is no flake, as he heads the world's biggest bond fund. In his May/June Investment Outlook, he lists major changes that have occurred in the last 12 months that indicate that the instability is increasing.

Most startling is the continuing rapid increase in debt, higher even than the 1930s Great Depression peak. But it's not just America: debt is increasing astronomonically in China and Japan as well.

Gross's ominous conclusion is: "[C]heap money is primarily responsible for today's economic recovery and accelerating inflation, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. When it goes away, however, we may tip the other way.... Inflation and deflation in this levered world coexist nearly side-by-side. Is it any wonder that in the space of the last six months we have had headline speeches promoting the dangers of deflation only to be followed by fears of accelerating inflation? "One side's ice and one is fire." What has changed this year in our 3-5 year forward economic forecast is that the conditions for instability have accelerated -- more U.S. consumer leverage dependent on cheap financing; more Treasuries in foreigners' hands; more geopolitical instability; and more risk of a slowdown/shock in Asia."

My original prediction, made in 2002, based on generational analysis and standard growth analysis, was that we would have a major stock market crash (DOW down to 4000 range, S&P 500 index down to 400) by 2006 or 2007. Nothing that's happened in the last two years has done anything to dissuade me of the validity of this forecast, and with today's astronomical price/earnings ratios, it's hard for me to see how anyone can doubt it.

Bill Gross's remarks that "the conditions for instability have accelerated" mean that we're in an increasingly rapid slide downhill, and the crash may come well before 2007. (17-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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How should global execs prepare for World War III?

That's the question that the "Manager's Journal" of today's Wall Street Journal is asking.

"The U.S. is fighting the early battles of World War III -- against global terrorism -- yet few in business seem to comprehend the far-reaching repercussions of this war," begins the article by Denis Bovin, Michael Sonnenfeldt, Larry Smith and Linda Flanagan. The article points out that industry leaders have to help take responsibility for protecting national security, and that they have to work together to tackle national security problems collectively. They say it's good business, too! (12-Jun-04) Permanent Link
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