As for 2016, The Economist perfectly sums it up in three words: “woes, women and wins.”
Woes will sadly abound in the Arab world, as people keep flooding out of Syria and other ravaged places; Europe’s handling of the migrant crisis remains questionable at best. On the economic front, there will be little to cheer: the performance of emerging markets, including a slowing China, will be disappointing, stifling global economic growth. Environmental regulations, on the other hand, have become less stringent. The six-month period from January to June was the planet’s warmest half-year on record, with an average temperature 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the late nineteenth century. From ocean, to space, to oil; from to cyber crime to religion, we’ve all taken hits. And on this topic, before July, there were already more than 133 reports of mass shootings. In this respect, at least, the future is just as it used to be: ripe for a feast of forecasting.
Women, meanwhile, have been and will be at the heart of many of the biggest decisions of 2016. Investors will be watching for rate rises at Janet Yellen’s Federal Reserve. Hillary Clinton was the first female nominee for a major political party. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, will be at the forefront of the European Union’s response both to the refugee crisis and to Britain’s demands in advance of its in-or-out referendum on EU membership, more commonly known as “Brexit”. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, faces a battle to resist impeachment. Korea’s first female president was impeached just a few weeks ago.
Wins have come in a plethora of ways. A carnival of sport awaits around the world. America had Super Bowl 50, France hosted the Euro 2016 football tournament and the West Indies beat India in the T20 World Cup in March. Big wins provide a welcome distraction, as Rio finishes hosting the Summer Olympics. Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton invigorated theatergoers with a look into the life of their new favorite founding father in the form of a ground-breaking hip-hop musical. Most notably, as covered in our last issue covering the Presidential election, the Republican party had a big win, taking control of the executive branch as well as both the Senate and Congress. And for bettor or for worse, viral challenges have also flooded the internet. To name a few: the Mannequin Challenge, Pokemon Go, and water bottle flipping.
“The future ain’t what it used to be,” said Yogi Berra.