We are nearing the end of the year, and the festive season is in full swing. The economic news, however, is grim. GDP figures from the last quarter show a decline of 0.2%, and the Government is not ruling out a drop in the next quarter.
But what can we expect in the medium term from the economy? If you ask any number of economists they will each tell you a different thing. But who is right? Can any of their analyses be relied upon when they seem to be so consistently wrong?
Well I’ve been crunching the numbers and analysing the data too. I may be no economist, but that also means my independence can be relied upon. My survival as an economic forecaster does not rely on a bank or other business organisation.
Here’s what I think we can expect from 2011.
The US dollar will dive sharply in January, following an announcement by President Obama that he is nationalising Goldman Sachs and having its executives horsewhipped up and down the length of Wall Street. The Euro will quickly follow, and one by one each of the nations of Europe will go into freefall. People will no longer talk about the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain), and will instead refer to the PIGPISSBUMFINGERS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Poland, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, United Kingdom, Monaco, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Romania, Spain), which I’m sure you’ll agree is much catchier.
By the end of this quarter most people in Europe and the US will be living in rubbish dumps, scrounging like rats for every scrap of protein they can get. A dead dog will be regarded as a banquet, while grass will considered a luxury food item. As ever, the privileged elites will do well for themselves, and will have the pick of the refuse piles.
With the US and Europe destitute, the rest of the world will quickly follow. A series of natural disasters will also add to the misery. Plague, pestilence and drought will sweep across Africa and Asia, and such will be the resultant famine that people will eat the flesh of their own babies to survive. There will be so many corpses piling up in the big cities that they will be burned for warmth.
New Zealand will be largely unaffected, at least initially. We will experience a surge of refugees, but our response will be brutal and coldhearted, and our borders will be closed.
As various tyrants and despots spring up around the rest of the world, trying to take advantage of the power vacuum, our own nation will experience its own economic crisis. With many of our export markets suddenly closed, we will experience a sharp decline in the New Zealand dollar, and our currency will soon be worthless. A wheelbarrow will be the only practical way you can shift your cash.
The Prime Minister will seek and get extraordinary powers from Parliament to address the situation. Unfortunately, he will be assassinated, stabbed with a pair of scissors by an anarchist posing as a hairdresser. His deputy will take control but will be ineffectual and will be deposed in a military coup. An early election will be called, and the Communists will sweep to power.
Meanwhile in the South Island a religious mystic from Hokitika will start causing trouble for the authorities. He will gather a huge flock of followers around him and will then lead them on a march to Wellington. His followers, overcome by religious mania, will flagellate themselves, and will engage in pogroms against Jewish communities living in the towns they travel through. In the end they will be suppressed by police, but many will take their faith underground and continue to plot against the state.
A rare influenza strain will kill a third of the world’s population. Auckland will be hit particularly hard. This will impact on the manufacturing and services sectors, who will be plagued by labour shortages. But some service providers, such as funeral directors, will experience extraordinary business growth.
We will win the Rugby World Cup by default, because no other team will show up. Even so, the mood across the nation will be buoyant, until a huge Tsunami sweeps away much of the lower North Island.
The ragged survivors will rally courageously, and will marshal their resources in order to rebuild their communities. However, while deciding how to best apply their few remaining resources they will put what little they have into first ranking secured debentures with a finance company, in order to earn some interest, and will lose everything.
Just before the end of the year we will discover an underground mountain of diamonds in the Southern Alps that will overnight make us the richest nation on the planet.
So, in summary, it looks as if by the end of 2011 we’ll be back on the road to prosperity. Good times are ahead!