Every year, at this time, we are encouraged to look back to the last twelve months and forward to the next. It is, of course much easier to remember the past than to predict the future but mostly, the unwritten pages of a year yet to come are filled with more hope than the wrinkly manuscripts of past disasters.
Sadly, the trouble with predictions is that they are usually wrong and, even if they are right, it is merely a fluke, we have no idea really what is going to happen. This gives us all an enjoyable sense of freedom because we can predict away knowing that all we are really doing is as an activity as seasonal but pointless as pulling Christmas crackers.
Pointless comments have never stopped me before so I won’t hold back now.
With an appropriately faux-science starting point, I looked back on 2011 for signs, seeds even, that might indicate our future in 2012.
2011 was a year of natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and tsunamis – when we saw Nature revealing her ruthlessness and our powerlessness when the weather decides to turn brutal.
2011 was a year when many of our politicians revealed themselves as being incompetent in the face of economic problems – in the USA, the Democrats and the Republicans just couldn’t agree to co-operate in a time of national crisis and in Europe, our leaders, especially Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron, looked to their own petty advantages and watched as the eurozone burned.
2011 was a year when loads of nasty dictators were toppled by popular uprisings of their much put-upon peoples and we all dared to hope that there was going to be real change after the Arab Spring.
2011 was a year when not only discontented Arabs rose up against their leaders, it was also the year when the Western “developed” countries saw their populations questioning the cynical use of unelected power by many of the world’s financial and corporate institutions. Three years after the economic failure caused by the banks and mortgages companies, the people, the self-styled 99%, began to question the financiers, and the politicians, competence. The “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration spread internationally and left its mark….a giant question mark over the abilities and ethics over the way our economies are managed.
So what do these signs foretell? Will they influence 2012?
2011 left many people feeling helpless, vulnerable and at the mercy of uncontrollable forces – and not just the weather. If your house was washed away or repossessed, if your livelihood was destroyed by storm or by political or economic mismanagement, or if life itself was threatened by hurricane or dictatorship, then, eventually, you are going to decide to do something about it.
Could it be that in 2012, we, the 99%, decide that we don’t want our lives wrecked or threatened by the 1% of incompetent, greedy or corrupt businessmen, politicians, dictators who, in 2011, were happy to sit back in their arrogance and let more than just Rome burn? Maybe the new year really could be a time of hope. the trouble is predictions never get it right.