Three Trends for the Next 50 Years

I’m not a big believer in the future. I mean, it will exist—we know that. But that’s about it.

CXO Advisory Group has analyzed the predictions of hundreds of pundits. Are the talking heads on TV right or wrong?

You know, the ones who say Ebola will end the world, or the ones who said Enron was just having accounting problems.

It turns out the pundits’ predictions are right only 47% of the time. I think they are being nice to the pundits. I would say pundits are right about 12% of the time.

But I pulled that number out of a hat, and they did a statistical study, so who knows?

I don’t like making predictions. They get in the way of my digestion. All of that future thinking clogs up the pipes.

But there’s a great way to evaluate whether a prediction is true or not. It involves a simple phrase we all know: “This time things will be different.”

We know that phrase is always wrong. We know that things stay the same.

I’ll give a great example: my 15-year-old doesn’t have email. She doesn’t really use a computer except for homework. But she does use her phone. She texts everyone.

Email has been popular for almost 20 years. But the phone has been popular for over 100 years.

Not that new things are bad. We’re not using the phone from the year 1900. We’re using a phone that is a more powerful computer than the top supercomputers from 20 years ago, and it fits into our pocket.

Two things happen:

  • what was popular in the past will be popular for at least as long in the future (expect at least another 100 years of teenage girls texting relationship advice to their friends); and
  • what was popular in the past will improve.

I have two experiences as a pundit for the future:

1.) In 2007 I said on CNBC that Facebook would one day be worth $100 billion. At the time it was worth maybe $1 billion. Everyone on the show laughed. I then invested in every Facebook services provider I could find.

Then, 5 years later almost to the day…


2.) In my book, “Choose Yourself!”, written mostly in 2012 but out in 2013, I said that we can look forward to having a “smart toilet” that will diagnose all of our illnesses in our fecal matter and urine. A mini-lab in our bathrooms.

Anyway, recently, MIT said it’s working on just such a toilet.

Cost: $2,000, but it was going to bring the cost down to $100. Count me in.

But there are 10 trends from the past 100 years that I think are important to respect and will be important trends for the next 100 years. Knowing this can help us make money off of them.

(Note: Want to know exactly how I make money off of trends? I’ve used this copy and paste strategy for years – Learn it here.)

Trend #1: Deflation

Most people are scared to death of inflation.

If most people are scared of something (like Ebola), it probably means it was a media or marketing-manufactured fear that will never come true.

The reality is, we live in a deflationary world.

Warren Buffett has said that deflation is much more scary than inflation. It’s scary to him because he sells stuff. It’s great for everyone else because we buy things. However, to be fair, it’s a mixed bag.

When prices go down, people wait to buy, because prices might be cheaper later. This is why some of the scariest points in our economic history were in the 1930s and in 2009 when there was deflation.

How did the government solve the problem? By printing money and going to war. That’s how scary it was.

To solve the problem, we gave 18-year-old kids guns, sent them to another country, and told them to shoot other 18-year-olds.

People have all sorts of statistics about the government debt and the dollar decreasing 97% in value since 1913, etc.

I don’t care about all of that. I want to make money no matter what.

Here’s what I see: my computers are cheaper. Housing prices haven’t gone up in 10 years.

And people are finally starting to realize that paying for higher education isn’t worth as much as it used to be (too much student loan debt and not enough jobs).

All electricity is cheaper. All books are cheaper. And I don’t have to go to the movies to watch a movie. All my music is basically free if I watch it on YouTube.

Don’t get me wrong: inflation exists because the government and the corporations that run it are preventing deflation. But the natural order of things is to deflate.

Eventually something bad will happen, and the carpet will be pulled out from under everyone. Perhaps if we have an inflationary bubble. Then deflation will hit hard, and you have to be prepared.

In a deflationary world, ideas are more valuable than products. If you have ideas that can help people improve their businesses, then you will make a lot of money.

[Note: I often talk about this in The Altucher Report, where I give money making ideas for everyone from college students to employees to retirees – Learn more here]

For instance, I know one person who was sleeping on his sister’s couch until he started showing people how to give webinars to improve their businesses. Now he makes seven figures a year.

This “webinar trick” won’t always work. But then he’ll have ideas for the next way to help people.

Ideas are the currency of the 21st century, and their value is inflating, not deflating.

Trend #2: Chemistry

The last 50 years was the “IT half-century,” starting with the invention of the computer, the widespread use of home computers, and then the domination of the Internet and mobile phones.

Okay. Done.

It’s not like innovation will stop in that area. It won’t. Every year computers will get better, more apps will be useful, etc. But the greatest innovations are over for now (DNA computing will happen, but not until after what I’m about to say does).

As an example: the next versions of my laptop and my cellphone have already come out. But, for the first time ever, I have no real need to get them. And I’m an upgrade addict.

But the upgrades just weren’t big enough.

I don’t even think I understand the differences between the next generation of cellphones and last year’s generation (tiny changes in battery and pixel numbers, but only tiny).

Here’s what’s going to change: chemistry. The number of grad students in chemistry is at an all-time low versus the number of grad students in computer science or information technology.

And yet, we’re at a point where almost everything we do requires advances in chemistry rather than IT.

For instance, Elon Musk is creating a billion-dollar factory to make batteries. Well, for Elon’s sake, wouldn’t it be better if we had a more efficient way to use lithium so that batteries can last longer?

DNA computing, while it would create a great advance in computer technology, is almost 100% dependent on advances in biochemistry.

Many people call the US the “Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas.” But what good does it do us if we can’t convert the gas into liquids that fill up our car?

Right now every country uses Fischer-Tropsch technology—a chemical process that is 90 years old—to turn gas into liquids. And it’s expensive to use it. Wouldn’t it be better if someone could develop a groundbreaking change here?

I can list 50 problems that chemistry can solve that would make the world better. But it’s not sexy, so people have stopped studying it. This will change.

Not because it’s a futurist trend, but because for 3,000 years, changes in society were largely due to chemistry advances (e.g., harvesting wheat) rather than computer advances. I’m just taking an old trend and saying, “Hey, don’t forget about it. We still need it.”

A simple example: DuPont and Dow Chemical, the two largest chemical companies, have had 50% and 38% year-over-year earnings growth respectively compared with Apple (12%). But nobody cares.

(Related: Find out the group of chemistry related stocks I think are ready to produce triple-digit gains for investors here)

Trend #3: Employee-free Society

Before 200 years ago, we never really had employees. Then there was the rise of corporatism, which many confused with capitalism.

I’m on the board of a $1 billion in revenue employment agency. It’s gone from $200 million in revenues to $1 billion just in the past few years. Why did we move up so fast when the economy has basically been flat?

For two reasons:

  1. The Pareto principle, which says that 80% of the work is being done by 20% of the people. So a lot of people are being fired now, since 2009 gave everyone the carte blanche excuse.
  1. Regulations that are too difficult to follow. It’s getting pretty difficult to figure out what you need to do with an employee. Health care is a great example, but there are 1,000 other examples.

So what’s happening, for better or worse, is a rising wave of solo-preneurs and lifestyle entrepreneurs—exactly what happened for the hundreds of years that capitalism was around before stiff and rigid corporatism (teamed with unions) became the primary but fake “stable” force in our lives.

This is why companies like Uber are flourishing. You have a workforce (the drivers), logistics software in the middle, and people willing to pay for that workforce.

Our GDP and our startups are going to start to drift in the Uber direction. Uber in San Francisco last month did three times as many rides as all the cab drivers in SF combined.

Corporate life was never really stable, and now we know that.

The problem is: while we were all in our cubicles (and I’ve been guilty of this for many years as well), we stopped being creative, stopped having ideas, and just took orders from the gatekeepers: bosses, colleagues, government, education, family.

We let other people choose what was best for us instead of doing the choosing ourselves. If you let someone else do the choosing for you, the results won’t be good, and you’ll get resentful. Bad things will happen.

I won’t give a direct tock tip on this right here, I do that every month in my Altucher Report. This is not about stocks. It’s about taking an approach where you get your life back so you can have wealth and abundance over the next 50 years.

One thing to try is to write down 10 ideas a day. This exercises the idea muscle and gets you 100x more creative than the average person over time.

They could be business ideas, ideas to help other businesses, book ideas, or even ideas to surprise your spouse. Another trick is to take Monday’s ideas and combine them with Tuesday’s ideas. “Idea sex” is an awesome source of creativity.

Ideas are the true currency of this next century. I don’t care about the dollar or gold or health care. Any movement in those will just create opportunities for people who know when to take advantage of them.

The key is to become an idea machine.

People say “ideas are a dime a dozen” or “execution is everything.” These statements are not really true. It’s difficult to come up with 10 new ideas a day (try it), and execution ideas are just a subset of ideas.

I was going to make this 10 trends I see coming over the next 10 years. But at 1,900 words, I already shared three solid ones. If you want to learn the other 7, I explain them in detail and how to make money off of them in my new book.

These trends are already here, they’re already deeply affecting our society, and being ready for them will be the key to success in the coming years.

Here’s how to be prepared. 

  • Just tweeted this out and wanted to see your thoughts on the Fast Company article on Freelancer America – 40% of the workforce will be in this category by 2020. We’re trying to figure out how to use this global network to help small businesses.

  • Patrick Magnusson

    Your articles have prompted me to check out a few of the freelance sites recently. The high quantity of talented people competing for fairly paltry compensation on these forums is somewhat disturbing.

    No better evidence to follow your advice to become an idea creator. You can buy execution for peanuts. And, without ideas, peanuts you will receive.

    • Selena Maree Sparks


  • Very interesting thoughts indeed. What all may happen in the future is perhaps easy to predict but how many and which predictions would prove to be true is hard to predict. Prediction or no prediction, some trends which seem to become more and more prominent with each passing year include the following – increased volatility in world economy, higher intolerance and propensity to violence in the society, exponential pace of production and consumerism and most dangerous of all, gradual erosion of basic values and decline of ethics in business, politics and public life. The above three trends are going to make things even worse in the years to come.

    • Adam Morehouse

      There is also a trend in the opposite direction, more real integrity and not just blind adherence to a code or religion, trust and trustworthiness becoming foundational to business and public life. Politics is a freak-show that panders to prevailing winds and the younger generation are getting sick of it and will turf the cronies and their corruption and pollution out when they come of age. There is hope my friend. Humanity has never been so populous, nor so affluent, nor so tolerant. Go back 200 years, oppression was the order of the day.

  • I’m on the board of a $1 billion in revenue employment agency. It’s gone from $200 million in revenues to $1 billion just in the past few years. Why did we move up so fast when the economy has basically been flat?

    didn’t that company go bankrupt CRRS

  • alexrodz83

    Hi James. Long time follower. (book,podcast,quod) First, I just want to say that I really admire you for being genuine, putting yourself out there, and the various life philosophies you have. Second, I would like to suggest that you interview someone who has followed the 10 ideas a day exercise for an extended period of time in order to see how the exercise has affected their life. Think of it as an experiment that tests your theory. You could probably write a really book on it if you get various people to participate. Just an idea ;) Anyways, keep on doing your thing man. Thanks for the laughs and all the free content.

  • As I read the 3rd to last paragraph I couldn’t help thinking “ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is everything.” Then I got to the 2nd to last paragraph which states “People say “ideas are a dime a dozen” or “execution is everything.”
    Well played.

  • Great article. I’m in awe at how you manage to capture and hold my attention for 1,900 words. I’ll admit, I did take a momentary twitter break but I immediately returned to finish!

  • Very interesting post James.
    I never really have thought about Trend #2 Chemistry that you mentioned. What you’ve said makes total sense I’ll have to ponder that trend some more. I’d enjoy seeing you expand on your thoughts on Trend #2.
    Trend #3 I think is ringing truer and truer each and every day. I think this trend will only grow more and more in the years to come.
    Overall another great article James!! Thanks for always challenging my mind and helping me to always learn new things. You are one of my favorite “Disruptive Thinkers” please keep doing what you’re doing James. You are making a difference my friend.

  • Christopher Butler

    Trend #3: I wanted to point out that I have been doing the freelance gig for three months. And the comments about talented people competing for peanuts is accurate. But it is paying your dues – building a reputation and relationships with clients. Then you will see things start to change. Most recent example: I work as a freelance writer. Client had a project with a very low budget in relation to the project. I bid on it at 3x the budget, explained the necessity of higher bid, and ultimately the outcome and quality of the project if he went with a freelancer that was willing to do it for his budgeted amount. The end result was that the client hadn’t considered. Since I recognized the full extent of the project he was willing to have me do it for the amount I bid one condition: He wanted me to give him feedback on two 15 page e-books he had written. And he awarded me the contract.

    I have also tried to find a niche within the various types of writing. Initially my goal was to be an expert in SEO, building WordPress blog sites, etc. But I found those areas were just as undervalued as everything else. But writers have always been undervalued so that’s nothing new. But I found if I let my niche evolve organically in an area of writing for which I have a passion … then the results are different. So I did just that and focused on creative writing, adapting or doing rewrites on screenplays, narrative non-fiction, etc. And now I have clients coming to me to bid on project. One client in particular asked me to read his screenplay outline and just give him my opinion on whether it would make a good script.

    Also, if someone sends me a message that they went with another freelancer and it was a tough decision then I will usually offer to review the final product and give them feedback on the quality of the work. And that is goodwill that doesn’t have a price tag.

    I guess the point is to separate yourself from the pack any way you can. Low bidder wins is a miserable system and more times than not produces mediocrity. In the beginning I bid on work with the client’s budget and provided a compelling proposal. And then I got awarded the project and thought – shit … I didn’t want to do this.

    This trend is coming so getting ahead of it sooner rather than later is the smart thing to do. And I look at the freelance platform as a first step toward complete self employment.

    And one last thing: I turned down a decent job to do this and janitorial work on the side. The janitorial job never came through so I am trying to support a family with this freelance work right now. And it’s not easy but I feel like I’m investing rather than treading water.

    And coming up with ten ideas per day is still the biggest challenge I have!

    • You are carving out a niche that will allow you to cut through the clutter and stand out without needing a massive marketing investment. What you’re doing sounds really efficacious. Keep going. I like the idea of coming up with 10 ideas a day this article suggests when you’re in the stage of deciding what to do, but it seems you already found that. You need 100% of your energy going toward ways to do what you’re doing in a way that provides increasing value to others and increasing enjoyment to you. Come up with 10 new ways of doing either of those things each day instead.

      • Ed Wade

        Damn I dig smart chicks.

        • carl kinney

          Not only smart, but good looking. Do yo thing, Ocean. Also, Often people never serve themselves to looking deeper into landing pages and personal profiles to find opportunities readily knocking on the door. Seek, find, knock….another out of focus glitch for the new millenials walking dead. Opportunities are sooooo abundant right now for all races/nationalities. Only need sought after.

    • You are on the right path. It is difficult because everything is so fragmented. Action is required for results as is thinking for picking out the opportunities. Of course beware of the glittery “gotchas” — I liken it to the way dolphins herd the sardines before they converge on a feast. They take your money to put you in a “better” position – be it certifications or training. Be eclectic, be careful, and be in action like you are. Don’t forget to do some deep thinking too – it sorts out the opportunties from the illusions of grandeur.

    • James Kwan

      Inspiring! I just started a Fiverr account and am learning how to offer services I have a passion for. Currently it’s making exercise programs and planning to offer blog writing services but intend to start at discounted rate to hopefully get better and get some work under my belt. I will be leaving my physical therapy job in 2 months to pursue something more thrilling. Thanks for sharing you freelance experience.

      Dr. Homie Kwan

  • future is what we do today

  • Cannot really comment on the chemistry aspect of this Post although to a lay person like me it makes sense. Respectfully however the deflation and employment sections are problematic. 20% of the workforce is responsible for 80% of the work? Really? How about 99% of the workforce is responsible for 100% of increased productivity; innovation etc which is then drained off by a parasitic 1%? Maybe this explains the “disappearing ” employee. ? The 1% allocates all profits to itself; hence the disappearance of defined benefit retirement plans; employer sponsored health care and insurance plans etc. Therefore employees are replaced by “independent contractors” or “solopreneurs” as you refer to them. This also might explain deflation: fewer employees, especially with no union bargaining power means no “ratchet syndrome” of demands to increase wages so prices decline. Big problem for capitalism as currently configured, hence trade agreements seeking access to ever cheaper labor markets but also societies which have pent up demand (think PRC; etc.)

    • nick

      Hey Peter – I respectfully disagree with your numbers and your comment that all that is happening is that the workforce is being transitioned from employees to independent contractors. First of all, in the USA we have at least 100 Million able bodied workers that are not working, they are no longer being counted, employees or otherwise. Jobs are going away and they have been for 50 years. In a larger sense 100% of the work is being done by the employed 47% of the workforce and the rest are not showing up, and I’m not thrilled to be paying for them. I understand that many employers are converting positions to independent contractors, that was my life 15 years ago. Feel free to try to compete with job deflation if you like, but I’d rather own a business and come up with new, innovative ideas and provide companies with cost-effective niche solutions that they will pay for rather than waiting for a pink slip.

      • MindSync

        Nick, 100 million out of work? The U.S. population is just over 300 million. 70 million retired and 60 million under age 16. your number comes out to about 50% unemployed. In the great depression the unemployment rate was about 35%.

        • nick

          Thanks for making my point MindSync! Based on an article I read last year (, the author cited 94 million not working. , so yes, about half are unemployed…not working as contractors as Peter indicated. I also own businesses and regularly work 12-14 hr days, so I get your view and yes it’s nice to have infrastructure & support. I applaud your efforts to be part of the 50% that show up to work and sign the front of the check, even though it may be low pay and long hrs. It is not luck, it is our choice to participate in this system

    • George Juego

      I remind meeting a union representative for telecommunication company. His union membership was once 2,000 members, but technology reduced to 200 in ten years.

    • brian

      The “parasitic 1%” you speak of are the people that launched the companies that employ the “productive 99%” – I’m part of the 99% but your Socialist-style lack of understanding of Capitalism is telling. The 1% allocated profits to itself because they took the risk of launching a business (assuming they’re entrepreneurs, but a lawyer, doctor, etc. also took the risk of forgoing pay right after undergrad to invest another $250k in schooling in the hopes of receiving a greater future income). If you think 99% of the workforce is responsible for 100% of productivity and thus the 1% of the workforce is responsible for 0% of the productivity, then I have a timeshare I’d like to sell you. One of the main problems with Karl Marx’s theories (and thus the eventual demise of Communism worldwide) is that he gave too much credit to the average worker and not enough credit to the average owner.

      • “…he gave too much credit to the average worker and not enough credit to the average owner.” You’re kidding, right? So the ownership of outfits like United Fruit under the Batista government in Cuba (think the Dulles brothers) deserves more credit than the peones who slaved to harvest the bananas right? I guess that’s why Fidel was able to build a government that outlasted ten U.S. Presidents , eh?

        • Ed Wade

          No secret to his success there. He lasted by killing those that disagreed with him.

          • Ahh…you’re talking about the Dulles brothers; Batista ; United Fruit or Fidel?

          • Ed Wade

            “I guess that’s why Fidel was able to build a government that outlasted ten U.S. Presidents , eh.”

          • MindSync

            Because our Presidents can only serve two terms by law. And by the way, our government has been around a lot longer than the dictator Castro. Last I heard he’s dead.

          • Ed Wade

            You’re preaching to the choir. If you’ll scroll up you’ll see I was clarifying with a quote from someone else.

          • MindSync

            Got it, sometimes I miss the sarcasm.

          • Ed Wade

            Yeah, me too. :/

      • Curt A

        Warren Buffet manufactures nothing, makes nothing and winds up as USA’s wealthiest by holding stock in the companies who do make things. Bankers, hedge fund managers and other wealthy money movers make nothing and yet account for most of the wealthy among us.

        • skyway1234

          Depending on whether you ask statisticians from the Left or the Right, between 60 and 70% of the wealthy in America were born without wealth and earned it after reaching adulthood. This is fairly unique in the world, because in most countries the die is cast the moment a person is born and they are destined to remain in the same income level as their parents the rest of their lives. In the US, however, we have the opportunity to do well.

          I remember when I was in high school. There were some kids who were diligent about doing their school work and wanted to please their parents, but there was another group of students who constantly cut class and loved to go up behind the football field and smoke pot. The pot smokers mostly wound up as addicts and the kids who stayed in class and did their work ended up going to college and then getting a decent job.

          My husband and I both came out of families where our fathers died when we were children. Each of us went to college, for a while, but it wouldn’t work out because we liked to party too much. After spending a few years doing other things, my husband in Vietnam, each of us got sober and immediately began doing really well. We met at an AA dance and have been together 27 years. While our friends and relatives were out at the bar, we were working on a business he started before he met me. When everyone went on a fancy vacation to Cancun, we were working at the store until 3 or 4 in the morning.

          After coming out of our respective homes to grinding poverty, we discovered we could do well in business! Isn’t that great? Guess what? Our relatives now say we got lucky. Yeah. We got lucky and the people who were out at the parties were hard workers with bad luck. Donald Trump has a saying I’ve always loved, “People say I’m lucky. I say the harder I work, the luckier I get.” And that’s the truth about business in America.

          ALL employees think they are doing the best job that was ever done by anyone they’ve known in their life. I used to think that way when I worked for other people. But the truth is that every company was formed by someone who took a daring chance and put everything on the line. It could have gone a bad way and millions of businesses over the centuries have gone out. The businesses that are still here have done well, but not by some miracle. Our business is still here after the last recession because we went to the mat, we tried everything we could try, we begged our suppliers to give us another week on our bills, we went without, I would lay awake at night worrying, worrying, worrying – how am I going to get enough together to pay the payroll?

          You either believe our current president that we didn’t build our business – or you don’t. I know that when the chips were down – and they were waaaaaay down in this recession – nobody from the government was offering to help us out. They were just like any other creditor.

          • Dana Carpender

            Barack Obama didn’t say you didn’t build your business. He said you didn’t build it alone — that it depends on roads, on the postal service, on the security that comes from having a police force and a fire station, on workers educated in the public schools — on all sorts of things that we, as a people, provide together with our taxes.

          • skyway1234

            “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

            Let’s take from his quote the final line, which really sums up his thought: “Somebody else made that happen.” Really? Somebody else made our business happen? This is the problem with the Democratic Party in the US. They think they are already living in the communist society they seem to want so badly.

            Every business owner in this country had a choice. We could have gone to work for the government, but instead we struck out on our own. We take great chances doing this, but if it were not for private business, where would the citizens work? Before the recession, small businesses employed 78% of the nation’s workforce, but today it is 56%. Gee, I guess the people who build these businesses – not the business owners, of course – must be slipping.

          • MindSync

            I own a business and yes I put up the cash and sometimes (many times) put in 12 to 14 hour days. But without other things falling into place or even the building of the internet and advice from certain people I could not of done it. But it was my drive and determination that held it all together. But I don’t want a pat on the back, because I chose to do it. Nobody made me do it. Most of all I don’t think I’m better than anybody else because I did. If I had had children I don’t think I could have done it. Their happiness and needed attention would have came first for me and I would have never been able to put in all those hours (for barely no pay). There is almost always a sacrifice and that was mine and your choice.

            That is what I think of when people say there is a certain amount of luck involved (if not having children is lucky). I feel no need to feel insulted or defensive.

            Also, I’m sure that last line of the quote you cited came out wrong. One word is missing, “alone”. If you read it with all that was said before it, that is clear and I applaud you for including it.

          • ray uhler

            Actually Elizabeth Warren said that.

          • Batman

            Who’s money paid for those roads and those police officers?

        • brian

          I’m not speaking for the bankers and money jugglers, but the majority of the wealthy aren’t bankers, they’re doctors and entrepreneurs who employ millions of Americans.

        • Subnx

          Gosh, I guess he just got lucky.

      • Ryan Naylor

        Why can’t there be a mixture of socialism and capitalism? Does socialism really limit how much someone can make? I could never understand why a society would rather have such low living standards for itself when raising them could be, and is, so much easier. People turn to drugs and crime because, as a society, we simply don’t care. Caring isn’t part of capitalism, which is simply every person for themselves. To me, that’s a severely dysfunctional society. For some reason, housing and feeding people is frowned upon in America.

        • D.G.

          There can be. Most European countries and Canada are already doing it.

          • Robert Williams

            And going broke doing so. The US is not a pure capitalist country. We actually lean more towards socialism, but only capitalism can cure poverty and unless we allow it to work we will never see the potential, because all the socialists can’t see beyond their feelings…

          • AlaskaCrabber

            Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, not their employees or overall society. Capitalism flourishes when the cash is distributed more evenly throughout the column.

            Will Rogers said, “… The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover was an engineer. He knew that water trickled down. Put it uphill and let it go and it will reach the dryest little spot. But he didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands. They saved the big banks but the little ones went up the flue.”
            Nationally syndicated column number 518, And Here’s How It All Happened (1932), as published in the Tulsa Daily World, 5 December 1932.[4]200 years ago, we never really had employees.

            As the author states, “Before 200 years ago, we never really had employees. Then there was the rise of corporatism, which many confused with capitalism.”

        • primitive

          Feeding and caring for people has always been done here as well but it was a private endeavor. Charities supported by individual donations still abound. Many of the richest in the country donated to things to benefit the masses. Have you never been in a Carnegie Library? Given a donation to the Salvation Army? the Red Cross? I hardly call such as charitable enterprises “frowning” upon housing and feeding those in need.
          Give up the sour grapes and give people credit for the innate goodness of the human soul.

          • lorenpiller

            That innate goodness in your examples all came from Christian beliefs

        • Dr. Jeff Kapp

          There can be, and it’s happening right here in the U.S., though most don’t realize it.

        • WTF

          Americans frown on government forcing us to pay for welfare systems that are bloated and clearly created to serve the creator (of that system) while incidentally helping some others. Rife with corruption and graft and horribly in-efficient, they are a vehicle for forcibly siphoning money from working people while maintaining the group that allowed the creation of the system.

        • Luis Matos II

          Yes, socialism does limit how much someone can make. Governments cannot and do not understand the means of production nor do they understand how to properly allocate resources, all they understand is growth and influence. People also become disincentivized to work when everyone receives equal pay or benefits regardless of output or contribution. No one will be willing to innovate or sacrifice because their compensation would not match the amount of risk involved.

      • samnjoeysgrama

        Do you know why we don’t have a phrase “crony socialism”? Because, it’s redundant. In a socialist country, if you have a business, it’s because you are a crony.

      • zxvf

        Ideas are easily stolen.

      • Stimpy

        No, they are rarely the people that launched the companies. Oftentimes they are graduates of the GE corporation management complex. They climb the corporate ladder and rake in the dough. They play the usual corporate tricks including layoffs to pump the earnings and flog the cash cows until the milk dries up. They outsource jobs and import H1-B visa people from India. They didn’t build anything, they just played the system at the expense of the people in the trenches who really did design and build the products that made profits for the corporations.

    • Am Beco

      It doesnt work like that. Read up on the 80/20 rule. 99% can’t be responsible for 100%.

    • pacman

      Nope a parasitic work force increases productivity based on the efforts of a few who are bright enought to bring the tools of increased productivity to the rest of the work force. The schleps who worled for Henry Ford would have been ordinary schleps with poor productivity without Henry Ford’s production lines. We’d all be working by candle or gaslight, tesla notwithstanding, without Edison and Westinghouseso don’t lump the “1%” into a monolith. “99% of the workforce is responsible for 100% of increased productivity; innovation etc which is then drained off by a parasitic 1%?”

    • Chris Maxwell

      I would note that for thousands of years human settlements had a “healer” of various types paid for by the settlement. And there was a nominal copay.
      A variation on socialized Healthcare … Which is working much better in the other 38 nations in the OECD.

  • Stockdoc9999

    What planet do you live on if you think housing, or grocery prices have gone down in the last decade? Utility bills have been pushed higher due to ‘green’ mandates despite the drop in oil and gas prices.

    You dismissed the very real 97% drop in consumer purchasing power since the Fed took over as if it didn’t happen. I’m calling B.S. on that.

    • CommonCents

      most of the things government touches/impacts/regulates have gone up tremendously from onerous regulation and govt picking winners/losers and crowding out investment/supply etc… much of the free market stuff has gone down. a prime example is comparing almost any surgery covered by medical insurance and lasik type eye services that may not be covered.

    • RedScourge

      If not for the monetary policy of a 2% inflation target, and the government policy of making everything worthwhile harder to do under the guise of benefiting our own collective safety, there would indeed be a constant trend of deflation.

  • James,
    I always love your insights. They are unique and I love the way in which you present them. They’re amazing! Thanks for this wonderful post.

  • Infallibilitude

    One of the trends you’d thought possible elsewhere is driverless cars.

    Well I’ve got a some minor amount of dev. experience. Such cars require software that can make predictions about other people’s actions. We haven’t even reached a level to predict the actual users’ actions. Forget about interactivity.

    How will such cars run through an orange (or yellow) light about to turn red. Their software won’t allow it.
    Where I live, it’s standard practice to try to “beat” the lights. Not an exception.

    Maybe your rear view camera will warn the driver. A driver will need at least 5 seconds to take evasive action or go across the signal. How many people can handle such cases? This is just one example.

    How will upgrades be handled? IT upgrades have a system admin. Who will handhold a car owner through an upgrade to the cars’ operating system? When is the downtime (as in the IT business) for a car? And it will be needed.

    • RoyBoy

      Presumably the driverless cars will all be using GPS, too…imagine the traffic snarls in the spots where GPS reception is poor and/or goes into an infinite loop.

    • CommonCents

      there is no dang way we’ll see driverless cars in the next 50 years in open systems in public use like consumers on roadways. only closed systems like lightrail or smaller transport areas in very closed regulated areas. they will mostly be in large warehouses and factories delivering stuff just in time as a few of them are now.

    • RedScourge

      You’ve misdiagnosed the problem. Driverless cars don’t need perfect software that handles every situation perfectly; they simply need to be able to become statistically superior drivers on the whole, and they will begin to win.

  • karloslaws

    You could replaced your Chemistry section with Biology and you’d be dead-on. Everything you can do with chemistry you’ll soon be able to do with engineered biology and you don’t need petroleum-derived chemicals to do that.

    • Lexi H

      Well, 4 years ago when I was in college, there were several people who double majored in both Chemistry and Biology.

    • CommonCents

      ok someone can make cellulosic ethanol process viable any day now! get back in the lab and work on those enzymes!

      or super efficient battery technology to be able to really put wind and solar power front and center

  • gary02

    James, I’m certain there are excuses why inconsistent messaging appears on your web site. But you must realize that you are asking people to trust you and your claim of performance. Any perceived inconsistency destroys trust of the site and author. The result is likely a lost transaction including ripples of questions during discussions of James Altucher. If you would like to contact me privately you have my general email address.

  • no1uknow1

    One thing that sucks terribly about this article is that it lacks a published date.

  • CommonCents

    freelancing is definitely driven by onerous regulations strangling businesses. that might revert back a bit if we get the govt off our backs and quit helping themselves to our pocketbooks. I could see a big push to traditional valued employee bases. It makes sense from strategic planning and productivity to have continuity. there is a big hidden cost on training/retraining employees that come and go.

  • James Kwan

    Glad I read this article. Currently transitioning out of my ‘secure’ and stressful physical therapy job to a aspiring travel blogger but documenting this transition each step of the way. Definitely been times where I question this career change but just following my heart and this article reconfirms my confidence that I can be a successful entrepreneur, even if that means making half my salary to do something I enjoy day in and day out. Will definitely check out your other content. Thank you.
    – Dr. Homie Kwan

    • carl kinney

      Follow us in Pureleverage then, James. At least take a good look at the trend of being with a low overhead bloomiing entity. Serve the wellness movement and your own current business which has a chance at prospering, too. Reach us at:

  • Fred Hibbert

    ….he lost me at “we don’t have inflation” ya-Right

  • pacman

    If deflaion was eternalwe’d be at zero entropy. The nature of things is to breathe, inflate then deflate.

  • Eric

    James said “Ideas are the true currency of this next century. I don’t care about the dollar or gold or health care.” What a great statement. I’ve created a startup that tries to monetize ideas: Please let me know what you think.

  • sensualsoul

    u guys should check for e-marketers and freelancers much cheaper based in EU.

  • BarrysConspiracyWorld

    The notion of deflation is way off because we are in a constant state of inflation due to the continual printing of money (devaluing of money) by our financial slave owners, the central bankers.

    Products like electronics get cheaper along with technological progression, but in our current system, money always becomes less valuable.

    See my post on The System of Financial Slavery.

    • If you’re going to say Inflation is here because of money printing you have to say what prices are up because of money printing. I can’t think of anything. Despite all the money printing, prices are basically flat to down across the board.

  • Chris Maxwell

    I have so many ideas just as a habit of being “the weird kid” so the real problem is monetizing the ideas. I have two inventions I’ve been testing and tweaking and then got a bad health diagnosis.
    So now the challenge is what to do with these ideas when my energy levels are not what they used to be and I keep hearing horror stories of stolen patents or slogging through a process that takes YEARS and thousands of dollars when my credit is toast and I spent all of what savings I had.

  • Daniel Ullfig

    I agree that ideas are the future currency. But then, they’ve always been. Ever since some caveman decided to sharpen the edge of a stone… ?

  • That interview reminds me how annoying these interviewers can be. Are they paid based on the number of times they interrupt each guest?

  • exboyracer

    What happens to the people in the middle of the curve, the ones who are lack the creativity gene? Robotics will displace them from even the most menial jobs. I am so glad I am old.

  • David O’Leary

    Ideas are great and all but once you’ve come up with a really good one you’re going to need a team and money to bring it to life. This site allows you to get your idea in front of others that can help you make it real,

  • Toya McKinney

    I like….very informative!

  • Leandro Aude

    I would like to add some other trends.

    Work schedules will become exceptional and old-fashioned, and a task-oriented payment will be the rule. I mean, you won´t be paid for working X hours a day, you´ll be paid for each task accomplished, be it crafted piece, delivered sue, design sketched, etc.

    We will go back to the polymath geniuses from the Renaissance era, to some extent. Interdisciplinarity is the way. Even if you can hire hundreds of experts in the most diverse areas, they lack the unified, interconnected, out-of-the-box mindset of a polymath.

    3D print will be the rule in the industry, and it will generate a lot of backlash from unions. Workmen will end up, in its majority, working in the factories of 3D print machines, in a deal among unions and corporations.

    The mainstream media will be funded, in its near totality, by money washing and product placement. You´ll even see lots of movies funded and promoted by big sponsors, placing his ads here and there. Movies will become two-hours ads. Studios will be A-list ad agencies.

    Audiences will stop being measured by the ratings system. Instead, networks will post their content online for free, and they will just measure internet traffic, and maintaining their services with online ads. Adblockers will be a big issue at first, but they will come to a tacit agreement where the user disables his adblockers in exchange of non-invasive ads.

    This period will be know as “The golden age of series”, since the subsequent era will be worse series-wise. It will become so easy to produce, distribute and promote one, there will be loads and loads of them, and only a few lucky will survive the cancellation due to oversupply.

    Nobody, be it celebs or average Joes, will care anymore about the leaked porn, since it will become so common it will end-up, at the most, as the “scandal of the week”, and it will be forgotten by the next one.

  • MobyJack

    I’ve been freelancing in the mechanical trades for most of my life. It all started when one of my employers was opposed to the idea that I was reinventing his company, without his input. I had raised his revenues about 40% but I did so around him. Never mind he fired me anyway, and did so in front of all of the other employees. His comments ring in my ears even today “You are fired and let me add, your are unemployable!” Bewildered I asked my businessman father “What am I going to do?”. His answer: “Go find the same a fellow who has no idea how to run his business, and run it for him”. Exactly what I did, for over 20 years, we broke up after he decided he was a self made man. That company was out of business in less than a year. Since then I have not spent one cent advertising that was 10 years ago. If you have good ideas people will refer you to their best friends,

  • Alberto Ortiz Martinez

    Interesting reading….trend on deflation are down and inflation up. Look at interest rates, rents, and food. Not sure how you can say housing is getting cheaper. Maybe based on where you live but house have gotten more expensive over the past 10 years. Agree with you that the others trends and the ideas.

  • Startup Disha

    Really we need to build future with today’s work.
    Thanks for sharing.