Here are 100 predictions that Elliot Wave Theorist, Robert Prechter, made in October 2003. As my econ professor once said, “if you’re going to forecast, forecast a lot and forecast often.” No mention of the rise of Apple or the election of the first African-American President. He is a smart guy and has been right on many things, which explains his staying power and ability to still move markets. Grab the Ambien after the reading.
“Remember as you read the list, Prechter made these forecasts seven years ago.”
1. Stock markets around the world will continue to fall. Ultimately, the averages will drop more than 90 percent.
2. Real estate values will fall more than they did in the 1930s and 1940s.
3. Rating services will resume the trend of downgrading bond quality. Eventually, states, counties, cities, corporations and even nations will default on bonds in record amounts.
4. Debt packages made of mortgage-backed bonds, auto loans and credit card debt will become viewed as unworthy investments.
5. Many, if not most, pension plans will fall in value and be unable to provide the promised benefits. Anger over this development will result in demonstrations, violence and tardy and ineffective political reform.
6. Prices for collectibles will continue to fall. Many will become little more than curios.
7. More banks will fail than failed in the 1930s.
8. The total amount of credit outstanding worldwide will decline substantially.
9. The Federal Reserve chairman will be labeled a fool who is greatly responsible for the collapse.
10. The trend toward economic contraction that began in 2001 will continue to develop into a depression.
11. The unemployment rate in the U.S. and in most countries around the world will rise and eventually exceed 25 percent.
12. A record number of manufacturing companies in the U.S. will fail.
13. George W. Bush, as we have said since his election and through his highest popularity ratings, will lose the 2004 election, probably in a landslide. [Editor's note: Did not happen, mainly because the stock market held up.]
14. A Democrat will be the next president. (I think it will be Hillary Clinton, currently not a candidate.) [Editor's note: Did not happen, but came close in 2008 as Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic primary to Barack Obama who became president.]
15. Many of the entities that were privatized or “de-regulated” during the bull market will be re-nationalized and re-regulated. (A less-likely but possible alternative is that many regulatory agencies will be abolished.)
16. Wave (a) of the bear market in social mood will bedevil more than one president.
17. The occupation of Iraq by the U.S. will progress from a quagmire to a financial, political and public relations disaster.
18. Terrorists will attack the U.S. again, more severely than on 9/11/01, probably within the next 18 months. [Editor's note: Did not happen in this timeframe.]
19. Separatist movements will gain momentum. Many will successfully establish new geopolitical entities.
20. Fears about technology will lead to restrictions on its development.
21. Politics will become far more polarized, splintered and radical.
Other Social Trends
22. Social groups, including economic, political, religious, genders and classes, will polarize and splinter further. That is, they will polarize both internally and with respect to opposing groups.
23. The birth rate will continue to fall in the U.S. and Europe until the bear market in social mood (as indicated by the downtrend in stock prices) ends.
24. Religion will become increasingly popular. Its advocates will become increasingly passionate. Religious intolerance will increase.
25. Belief in magic will increase.
26. Science will be turned to manipulative or malevolent purposes.
27. Epidemics will increase in number and severity. Malaria will return to the U.S. Eventually, DDT will be re-legalized.
28. Films will break new ground in horror, probably with themes that include suicide and torture.
29. Environmentalists will become militant and intentionally destructive.
30. Disney’s family-fare feature cartoons will fall in popularity, and the studio will stop making them..
31. Professional baseball and basketball will suffer difficulties. New record performances by individuals will become rare. No team will have a “dynasty” during the bear market. Leagues will restructure. Attendance and viewership will fall. Salaries will decrease.
32. New brutal sports will be introduced and gain popularity..
33. Physical fitness (“working out”) will go out of style..
34. The dollar will lose its place as the world’s reserve currency. Either gold, a currency backed by gold (such as the Islamic dinar), or the Chinese yuan will take its place.
35. The Federal Reserve System will be discredited and then abolished.
36. “The rich” will be vilified, and their property will be increasingly taxed and seized.
37. Regulatory and legislative reforms will limit, curtail or ban a number of structures facilitating speculation, such as options, futures, margin lending, hedge funds, mutual funds, IRAs and 401Ks.
38. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will shut down.
39. Financial news networks will change formats or go off the air.
40. Despite attempted manipulation by OPEC or any other nations, the world price of oil will decline. (An exception may occur if production facilities are destroyed or shipping halted during wartime.)
41. The “debt forgiveness” movement in the third world will eventually move to developed countries and see many of its goals realized.
42. The price/earnings ratio for the S&P will hit single digits (probably falling below 6), while the annual dividend yield on the Dow and S&P will rise into double digits (probably rising above 17 percent).
43. Countries will adopt numerous trade restrictions, import taxes and other protectionist measures.
44. Consumer confidence will fall to record low levels.
45. The number of new skyscrapers will decline dramatically.
46. Social Security in its current form will fail.
47. The U.S. will threaten and possibly attack more countries. More countries will oppose U.S. interests.
48. The Third World War, which began on 9/11/01, will escalate.
49. The U.S. will increase restrictions on immigration.
50. The U.S. will require internal travel papers.
51. Both patriotism and anti-government sentiment will grow into powerful emotional forces.
52. Openness and transparency will give way to secrecy. Spies and exclusive social organizations will have increased standing and power.
53. The U.S. will accelerate its trend toward socialism. Opposition to that trend will be vigorous.
Other Social Trends
54. The U.S. space program will be shut down.
55. Conspiracy theories will become more plentiful, and more people will believe them.
56. People will rate “the future” as increasingly less promising.
57. Race relations will become strained and violent.
58. The suicide rate will go up.
59. Mob violence will break out more often than it did from 1982 to 2000.
60. Mass demonstrations, expressing anger with some social situation, will occur.
61. Hemlines will fall, and bright colors will go out of style.
62. Music sales will slump, and popular music will become somber and/or angry.
63. Hedonism will flourish. Pornography will become more bizarre. These trends will meet with social and political backlash, as mainstream behavior will simultaneously become more conservative.
64. Popular self-help books will change focus from wealth and self-improvement to surviving hard times and beating adversaries.
65. Cults and other escapist communities will be established.
66. Food scares, probably including mad cow disease, will hit the U.S.
67. Most restaurants will decline in popularity. “Family-style” traditional fare and home cooking will become popular.
68. Interest in producing the plays of Shakespeare will wane.
69. Anti-gay, racist and xenophobic entities will organize and openly pursue their agendas.
70. Market timing will come to be viewed as the best approach to investing in stocks, although investing in stocks in the first place will be considered foolhardy. “Buy and hold” will be denounced as a flawed and foolish approach to the stock market.
71. The demographic argument for a continued boom fueled by baby boomer spending and retirement savings will be transformed (somewhere near the bottom of the decline) into an argument that the same portion of the population will be responsible for a continued bust.
72. Many of the governments and corporate entities that have been bailed out by the U.S. government and the IMF over the course of the last 34 years will fail again, along with new ones. The IMF, World Bank, the Fed and other financing entities will not bail them out.
73. The IMF, World Bank and the United Nations will be shut down.
74. Existing high-yield “junk” bonds will fall to zero, and new ones will no longer be issued.
75. After a period of exclusively derisive and negative popular allusions to the stock market, references to stocks in non-financial settings will become all but non-existent.
76. Countless difficulties attending the above events will occur.
77. Bearish speculators will make a lot of money, and safety-minded investors will see their purchasing power rise.
78. Affordable housing will become difficult to come by. Family members will move in with each other. Homelessness will increase.
79. China will have a severe economic setback along with the rest of the world, but it will be a “wave 2,” from which the country will emerge as the economic leader of the world.
80. Suspicion or hatred of foreigners will increase around the globe.
81. Nations will tend away from liberal, representative governments and toward dictatorships.
82. The Drug War will turn more violent. Eventually, possession and sale of recreational drugs will be decriminalized.
83. Government will ration goods and services in which it is or becomes involved (such as gasoline, vaccines, medical care, electricity, water, food, etc.)
84. International travel will be restricted, whether by statute or dangerous conditions.
85. The U.S. and state governments will finish their takeover and demolition of the medical industry.
86. Third parties will gain political clout and win local elections. Libertarians, greens and others will capture many local offices and probably at least one state government.
87. At least one of the two major parties will disappear or re-form.
Other Social Trends
88. Areas of cities will become dangerous in which street gangs “rule” some neighborhoods.
89. The number of Broadway shows will fall dramatically.
90. Disney will close its NYC theater productions, and T. Square will become X-rated again.
91. Well-off people will adopt fashions that conceal rather than accentuate their wealth.
92. Gangsters, pirates and other outlaws will become popular folk heroes.
93. Entertainment media will feature fewer heroes and more anti-heroes.
94. The Olympic Games will be cancelled at least once, if not terminated altogether.
95. Organized labor will grow and become more active. The number and severity of strikes will rise.
96. Many amusement parks will close.
97. The number of coffee shops in the United States will decline substantially.
98. Per capita consumption of alcohol and other depressants will increase.
99. Public art, such as sculptures and murals, will become ponderous and ugly.
100. One or more of the sciences will go through a “paradigm shift.”