I don't like to make predictions, mostly because they often come true, and since what I generally tend to predict is collapse, that usually turns out to be not such a good thing.
There are exceptions: a couple of years ago I wrote about asset stripping (dismantling vacant houses in abandoned exurbs and suburbs) and squatting in vacant houses owned by absentee landlords as the approaching wave of the future. Apparently, that's all the rage already, and that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Don't mail that mortgage check! Who cares if you get foreclosed - you can live free next door! Better yet, work out a deal where you live in a place rent-free legitimately, to make sure nothing bad happens to it (like, say, asset stripping).
Luckily, it turns out that this year the folks behind exile.ru have done the predicting for me. These are the visionary individuals who have wisely abandoned the wretched old USA in favor of shiny new Russia, and are, it would seem, having a grand time of it. They deliver a plateful of predictions about Russia and the US, carefully premasticated for American consumption.
Here are some highlights:
Oligarchs Snap Up Dollar-Cheap CelebritiesRead the rest of their predictions here.
In 2007, The Moscow Times reported that star-struck Russian oligarchs are so flush with petro-rubles that one even hired actress Gweneth Paltrow to sit in a cage during a holiday party. In 2008, as the dollar continues to collapse and Russia grows wealthier, oligarch Alisher Usmanov rents out Red Square and hires John McCain to work the party's coat check. Not to be outdone, oligarch-silovik Igor Sechin rents out Gorky Park, and hires the entire U.S. Supreme Court to sit in a makeshift nine-cage zoo, designed by Zurab Tsereteli, so that partygoers can look and point at the justices, and feed them ice cream and delicious dark Russian chocolates.
American Southwest dies harder
Even as the American southwest continues its rapid descent into uninhabitable wasteland because of rising temperatures and water and electricity shortages, the construction boom doesn't let up. McMansions and casinos continue mushrooming around Phoenix and Las Vegas in 2008, even as the worst-ever drought there turns the golf courses yellow. Like fingernails growing on a corpse, development communities expand but lie empty in the desert. Americans blame illegal immigrants for causing the drought, and burn all the golf courses and empty gated communities to the ground rather than see them sold off to Mexicans looking to take advantage of the cheap dollar and cheaper real estate.