Extrapolating current trends into the future leave many people unprepared for major societal shifts
The one thing you can count on in financial markets, and society at large, is change.
I was reminded of this when I read this May 18 New York Times’ headline and subheadline:
The Last Days of Time Inc.
… how the pre-eminent media organization of the 20th century ended up on the scrap heap.
Time Inc. has been purchased by the Meredith Corporation, which plans to spin off Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money. All four magazines have suffered from declining ad revenue and declining circulation. There are other details, but the bottom line is that an established media empire, which had a long history of reporting on change, has now been swept up by change.
A generation ago, many observers would not have imagined that a company as iconic as Time Inc. would find itself “on the scrap heap.”
But linear trend extrapolation has always had its pitfalls, and on changes that have been on a much bigger scale than one media company, which brings to mind what the 2017 book, The Socionomic Theory of Finance, said:
(1) It is 1975. Project the future of China.
(2) It is 1963. Project the cost of medical care in the U.S.
(3) It is 100 A.D. Project the future of Roman civilization.
In 1975, the Communist party was entrenched in China. … Would anyone have imagined that China’s economic production, in just over a single generation, would rival that of the United States?
In 1963, medical care was cheap and accessible. … Would anyone have guessed that [today] pills would sell for $2, $20, $200 and even $1,000 apiece?