From my lifelong studies and fieldwork in geology and paleontology, I have learned that the history of the planet is one of very little change for long periods, and then suddenly, there are changes, that presage a new era. Today some of these changes may be human caused, others are natural, but currently the human ones are causing the greatest and fastest dislocations. Unpredictable climate will increase, making farming more difficult. Peaking depletion of oil, and metals, combined with financial and governmental competition for the remainders, will make inflation/deflation likely. Pro natal policies that were once promoted by industry, who were hungry for cheap labor, have overshot.
Since the economic downturn, some hard lessons have been learned, and some good corrective measures are being taken globally and at all levels of humanity.
Enjoying the the creative work of living well though change is now a prized trait. Leisure that consumes excesses of material things and entertainment services, are now already unaffordable to many. Learn to love your garden, and your helpful friends. The future will favor those who enjoy lifetime learning, sharing, creating and adapting.
The Harper's Magazine article link below, has a chart, that shows the history of two kinds of business cycles. The wave type, with it's occasional attendant panics, followed by the bubble type, with a huge fast run up, followed by a steep plunge. We are currently living in the era of the second type. The first type has disappeared, as manufacturing has fled the USA, with the preceding depletion of resources and places to put pollution, to be replaced by bankers, speculators, big loans and international dept, of huge proportions. An aside, not mentioned in the article is that the current cheating among bankers and financial companies began in earnest after real business opportunities with real resources became used up. For example, the high grade iron ore of the Masabi Range in Michigan was mined out, and onshore oil reserves became trivial relative to the number of people trying to make a living, from those substrates of life. We are living things and are learning that banks and wall street are not the substrates of life.
The govt is currently using various stretches of the truth, to hide and suppress inflation. If this continues, then, some things like rents might go down by 90 percent, but food will go up by 90 percent. (due to chaos in the commodities market, currency rate changes, and other factors)
On the article above. If our adaptation is too slow then we will get steeper, and shorter, business cycles, and then crash on the shores of high oil prices (peak oil), where mining and industry and the normal economy will stall/crash again.
We have moved from a long wave manufacturing business cycle type of economy, to a short wave bubble economy of finance (with a deficit of manufacturing infrastructure) kind of country, with ever shorter bubbles, that are about to break steeply, on the shores of high energy prices, fertilizer, and metal ore. If the financial community will stop playing for the highest profits, and get on with the green economy, then we will have a green wave, instead of a green bubble popping, and a benign transition. In that ideal case, we will have a mixed economy, of high and low tech green activities.
Gov't reps. say that energy and food prices are too volatile to use in the inflation reports, and so they took them out several years ago. Any math guy can easily tell us, that it is easy to average out the short price spikes of energy, and food, in order to make the accurate reports on inflation, and also food and energy are not volatile, on a year basis.
And what have I learned from a life of geology field work, and readings. Any scenario, trend, or theory, can become obsolete with some new large event, or some other data, or personal bias, that was overlooked. Curiosity, humility and adaptation, and enjoying the process of learning the new unexpected are what really matters.
The Wiemar Republic enacted stupid policies in very fast order. Hope fully corrections are now being made to current government policies. http://www.usagold.com/germannightmare.html
From Wikipedia: Another analysis, different from the mainstream explanation, is that the financial crisis is merely a symptom of another, deeper crisis, which is a systemic crisis of capitalism itself. According to Samir Amin, an Egyptian Marxist economist, the constant decrease in GDP growth rates in Western countries since the early 1970s created a growing surplus of capital which did not have sufficient profitable investment outlets in the real economy. The alternative was to place this surplus into the financial market, which became more profitable than productive capital investment, especially with subsequent deregulation. According to Samir Amin, this phenomenon has led to recurrent financial bubbles (such as the internet bubble) and is the deep cause of the financial crisis of 2007-2010.