January, 1999 - The New Year: Countdown to the Millennium
Trends and Themes for 1999
1999 will be a year marked by widespread diversity and division a year of great fear as well as great hope.
The fear comes from those who are afraid of the inevitable changes coming as we move into the 21st century. Underlying the fear is the ancient lore associated with predictions of the end of the earth, primarily based on those who believe the Bible predicted the end of the earth about this time. Those who would try to control others will try to promote and feed this fear.
Great hope will also arise out of humans wonderful ability to see past unreasonable fear into a bright new future where all things are possible. For them, 1999 will be the gateway opening to a new millennium new ways of thinking, new prosperity, new models of relationship, new models for peace. They see 1999 as the preparation year for a force that is unstoppable and ever expanding in human consciousness.
Religions of all persuasion will have something to say about the new millennium in 1999. The messages will be as diverse as the human race some preaching the end of the world, others preaching hope and others preaching violence and anger at perceived enemies.
Businesses that deal in hope and inspiration will both prosper in 1999, again pointing out the ability for humans to experience duality in many forms. Businesses that use fear as a motivator will find an audience for their message as well. We predict that hope will win in this contest.
Communications industries will continue to grow as people find that linking with their friends, neighbors and business associates through cell phones and e-mail allows them a quasi-relationship with people they have lost touch with. Electronic commerce will continue to bloom and expand as more and more people feel comfortable with it. The techniques for security and privacy protection will become stronger as fraud and abuse of this powerful medium continues to grow as well.
With more personal, private information available to growing numbers of people, the general population will increase their demands for privacy protection.
The media will do their excellent job of continue to promote skepticism and encourage fear. It will be several years before they realize that they are not helping themselves or the public through sensational negative news. Truth in advertising will continue as an area of attention for the skeptical media.
Death and abortion will continue in the news as emotional and controversial topics. Health care practitioners will grudgingly admit that so-called "alternative" forms of healing actually do work. That is already supported by the millions of people who use healers and healing practices other than their local medical doctor and pharmaceutical drugs. Many people already know that grandma's remedies really do work.
The fashion industry will see the emergence of new fabrics, new colors, new blends and new garments that are really just a recycling of old fads that have been around the block.
The entertainment, travel and recreation industries will continue to blossom as people look for ways to divert their attention from the fear-based mania that will seem to creep across the country at times.
High-tech industries will continue their explosive growth. A few companies will begin to understand the average folks' demands that products that work. This lesson won't be learned yet by many of the large companies until they suffer market losses large enough to get their attention.
Companies that produce high quality products and services will reap the benefits of customers who are willing to pay for good quality and durability.
The publishing industry will continue to expand especially those small publishers that can offer reasonably priced books through the Internet. The larger publishing houses will continue to struggle until they change the way they do business.
The legal community will be gearing up for the Year 2000 lawsuits. Where else do they see a ripe market? The old legal issues of sexual harassment and discrimination will continue to haunt corporations for many years to come. We wish this were not so, but some people are slow to change until it hurts them where its important. Hostile working environments will continue to destroy productivity. With a healthier economy and growing shortage of qualified employees, fewer people will be willing to stay in unhealthy environments.
The Year 2000 issue itself will become a grass-roots issue as awareness of the immensity of the problem grows and companies find that they simply cannot complete their work in time. New, innovative methods will be proposed and employed to short-cut the lengthy process of converting computer programs to use the new date structures. Some of these will work well; others will fail miserably.
Corporate executives will be under increasing pressure to reveal their Y2k plans to stockholders, customers, clients and suppliers. While the attorneys warn that disclosure is a huge legal risk, the larger risk will be from hiding important information. The government will make a lot of noise about compliance and punishment of industry without solving its own Y2k problems. Look for this issue to create intense anxiety starting in the next few months and growing in intensity and drama until this time next year. We will all be sick and tired of hearing about it long before the problem is really solved.
The continuing cry for ethics, honesty and responsibility of government officials and business leaders will continue. This will not go away soon or easily. The average person has become very skeptical of ongoing attempts to cover up problems.
Relationships will continue to occupy peoples private lives, with variety in relationship forms becoming commonplace. Group family arrangements, open marriages and shared parenting will grow in acceptance as people realize the "1 man, 1-woman, 2.2 kids in the suburbs" model is not the answer for everyone.
The divorce rate will eventually decline as people learn to spend more time getting to know each other before marriage. The birth rate will continue to decline also, although there will be a baby boom in families that postponed having children until they could afford them.
The US economy will continue to grow with many jobs going unfilled as we struggle to find enough qualified people to fill the many new jobs being created every day. The immigration authorities may finally realize that we really do need people coming to the US from other countries. We will also see more offshore business partnerships as US businesses search for ways to continue to produce goods and services at a healthy growth rate. Inflation should not be a problem in 1999. With the economy perking along at a low, yet steady growth rate, we could see possibly deflation in the near future.
The healthy economy will continue to provide money for people to spend in ways that were restricted or impossible in the early 1990s. As in the last few years, the Stock Market will get jittery at times as if to remind us not to get too complacent in our expectations.
Congress may not yet "get it" that most of us dont care about their political infighting. We do care about getting the important issues addressed. Scandal and invasion of peoples private lives are not what we want from our government. There will be those who continue to scream out and continue to try push their own agendas, in spite of blatant evidence that their views are not appreciated. They will be met with general disinterest. Eventually the message will become clear as our government struggles to be what is should be: of the people, by the people, for the people. Term limits will continue to be hot issues in those states that have not already adopted them.
The President and his opponents will continue with their karmic dance until it is played out. Their games will continue for yet a while longer: Will he or won't he? Did he or didn't he? Who is guilty and who is innocent? Most Americans will go about the business of managing their own prospering lives with only a passing glance at the progress of such high drama.
Weather will continue its unpredictable behavior with locally aggravated weather conditions storms, floods, high winds, earthquakes, volcanic activity and unseasonable temperatures at times. Unsettled times create unsettled weather patterns. Or, perhaps, unsettled weather patterns accentuate unsettled times.
1999 will be wonderful for some people and terrifying for others. Most people will remember it in later years. As we grow closer to the close of the 20th century, the future will be on everyones mind in one way or another with trepidation or with a sense of expectancy.
Our personal wish to you: May you achieve your highest hopes in 1999 and live to see your hearts desires come true.
This forecast represents our views and opinions. Please, don't just take our word (or anyone else's) for what will or will not happen. Use whatever methods work for you in planning for the future. Wise people will use all the forecasts they can find, then see what feels right for them rather than letting any one dictate their activities.
No guarantees about the future are implied or given - use our views as you would anyone's opinions.
Follow your own heart where your dreams are calling you.
See last year's comments.
Warning: these are both serious and not-so-serious links.
Don't be afraid to take a big step. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps ... David Lloyd George (British statesman and Prime Minister)
It is easy to be brave when far away from danger ... Aesop (Greek fabulist)
We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success ... Samuel Smiles (Scottish author)
The first step towards any success in any occupation is to become interested in it ... Sir William Osler
You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That's assault, not leadership ... Dwight D. Eisenhower
Praise loudly, blame softly ... Catherine II the Great
The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings ... Ralph Waldo Emerson
Eternity is not something that begins after you are dead. It is going all the time. We are in it now ... Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Just because everything is different, doesn't mean anything has changed ... Irene Peter
We have to live by what truth we can get today and be ready tomorrow to call it falsehood ... William James
The most significant change in a person's life is a change of attitude. Right attitudes produce right actions ... William J. Johnston
Spirituality is the sacred center out of which all life comes, including Mondays and Tuesdays and rainy Saturday afternoons in all their mundane and glorious detail ... The spiritual journey is the soul's life commingling with daily life. ... Christina Baldwin
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change ... Carl Rogers
Page updated: June 05, 2009
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