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Online Log posts are entered in support of research activities and may include completed research summaries. Additionally, informative posts of interest are entered as occurring. This is a permanent post.

Future Forecast: 2020

Future Forecast: 2020 (always a work in progress)

Background: The 2020 forecast, as with all writings in the online log are the result of observations of information provided to the public via the news media, government, and public organizations. Observations are not intended to provide opinions. Further information on the research process can be found by selecting the “research category” in the online log.

References linked-to in this forecast provide a view of changing dynamics over decades and centuries. Current decision-makers rely on available information and must apply their knowledge (experience) and wisdom to possible cause and effect of their actions. Decisions made at one point in time may cause unintended consequences decades later.

The forecast is limited to three areas of concern for national and international relations, and the summary. Areas of concern are:

1). Commerce, 2). Impeachment, 3). Negotiations, and 4). Summary.

Process: Passive nonparticipatory observation research based on horizon scanning.

Forward:

1). Commerce

The national and international focus may be shifting from armed conflict to economic confrontation and cooperation trough bilateral free-trade agreements.

The United States balance of trade continues to accrue a net deficit of around $500 billion a year. Most of this debt is the result of previously unrestricted imports into the U.S. from China as a result of most favored nation (MFN) status assigned. Trade deficits began escalating in 1998 and continue to this day with a total imbalance of over $9,000,000,000,000. Current trade negotiations with China appear to be an attempt to reverse and normalize trade relations. Additional trade agreements between the U.S. trading partners are ongoing.

A similar economic imbalance exists between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), resulting in Brexit. The UK government formally announced withdrawal from the European Economic Community (EEC).

Weapons of warfare, territorial disputes, and intimidation appear to be applied in negotiations to achieve or maintain economic status. Nations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), may be violating the principle of the agreement by developing and testing weapons through third party nations to support this effort, possibly North Korea and Iran.

Commerce Notes: Throughout history, nations with surplus wealth have turned to importing goods and services, including employing foreign military services as protectors and servants. In so doing, agents of importing and exporting nations develop profitable relationships facilitating trade. Eventually, wealthy importing nations become dependent on this arrangement for goods and services and experience a loss of wealth, worker skills, access to raw materials, national and international logistics capability for shipping, commerce, and communication. Essentially, importing nations become economic colonies of other nation(s) which are reluctant to give-up their advantage without conflict.

Internally, the result of unbalanced trade in importing nations may lead to the eventual fall of the government, as with Rome and the British Empire. Although the internal issues with Rome do not appear lockstep with current U.S. or UK scenarios, they are the gradual movement from independent economic strength to dependent weakness and increased taxation. “Give the people a circus,” socialism and downfall. 

The chief benefactor of current U.S. trade policy is Chinese economic reform. Originally, the U.S. moved to grant China MFN status to open-up markets and assist in creating a western style economy in China. However, the result has been for China to give preferential treatment to businesses owned or controlled by the Chinese government, thereby gradually eliminating private ownership and prosperity. Internationally, China continues to manipulate currency exchange to maintain and increase government wealth to expand in acquiring mineral resources worldwide, develop the military, and expand territorial claims, all fueled by globalization, a wrong turn in history.

2). Impeachment

The central and time-consuming issue for the U.S. is attempted impeachment of the president by congress. Observation indicates internal review by the Department of Justice (DOJ) may conclude mindless, unbalanced and corrupt activities by a combination of lawmakers and public servants who may be working in concert, effectively destabilizing and paralyzing the charged functions of lawmakers and public servants.

The Constitution and Guidelines for Impeachment

Interactive Constitution made by the National Constitution Center. Full Text

The Question: Is there factual supporting evidence of activity by the president, identified in the Constitution, requiring impeachment? Or, is there factual evidence of intent by lawmakers, government servants, foreign powers and/or outside influences to overthrow the government?

Treason: 18 USC Ch. 115: Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities. (expansive reference)

Treason as defined in Article III, section 3 of the constitution. “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.” Treason in criminal law?

Overthrow: Removal from power; a defeat or downfall. “plotting the overthrow of the government.” (possibly through a series of interconnected events).

Synonyms of Treason: treachery · lese-majesty · disloyalty · betrayal · faithlessness · perfidy · perfidious · duplicity · infidelity · sedition · subversion · mutiny · rebellion · high treason·

Impeachment Notes: Impeachment is a seldom used  power of congress. Two presidents, one senator, the Secretary of War, and fifteen judges have been impeached since 1798. What remains to be experienced is the question “can congress be impeached, and by whom?” Many would respond to the question with, yes, at the ballot box. However, should issues addressed in the Inspector Generals (IG) Report bear fruit, and upcoming Department of Justice (DOJ) Report identify criminal activity, will it be treated as NOT political, but criminal? 

Do the synonyms of treason above apply to conduct of the House of Representatives during the recent impeachment process? Is it acceptable to say that the process was “just political?” Does the U.S. House of Representatives have immunity from the scales of justice, while then requiring the scales of justice apply in the U.S. Senate? It appears some believe so. 

3). Negotiations

On the national and international scene, at any given time, on any given issue, there will be visible and unseen participants with a stake in the outcome of a negotiation. Central issues in active negotiation at any time can be trade agreement with China, nuclear nonproliferation treaty, space exploration, immigration, conservation, healthcare, deficit spending, responsibilities of congress and many more.

Underlying negotiations are unseen participants at a support level or outside controlling authority, such as the world trade organization (WTO). Negotiations, in this sense, form a complex set of participants seen and unseen which can essentially hold the primary issue hostage from making progress and successful completion. (refer to the online log “research category” success with complex issues and systems). The concept of controlling global trade and attempted world government by the EU is depicted in Twitter streams hierarchy of EU participants that may also impact global negotiations.

Further compounding issues in negotiations may be “models of collective behavior” and “the madness of crowds” effect which have potential implications. The most common problem can be the combination of “undue influence” and collective behavior which may explain party-line voting in government. As an example, all members of the one party fall inline behind the speaker’s objectives regardless of the rationality of the issue. Such a move shifts the issue at hand to personal, non-legislative activity. Influence of this nature occurs in national and international negotiations in business, government, education and industry.

Negotiation Notes: Negotiations may be misdirected to provide personal gain from change of ownership of assets which are not the property of negotiators. Politicians may have authority to create trade agreements, however, may also set in motion detrimental outcomes for citizens, while at the same time realizing personal benefitsfor their actions.

The difficulty facing negotiators from an international perspective. even when the intent is genuine and above board, is the inability to predict long-term outcomes. (Henry Kissinger discuses U.S.-China ties at the New Economy Forum in Beijing. A history dialog with implications for the future. The content of the message is the lesson. Always view negotiations from the perspective of the other party, and today, from the interests of their counterparts). The coming cold war with China.

4.) Summary

2020 appears to be a year of continual sparring by political parties for position in congress and local government.

Deficit spending (borrowing money beyond tax and fee revenues) continues, currently around twenty-six trillion dollars . . . with no end insight for increased deficits. Moving towards socialism.

Governments are underwriting profitable businesses by deferring or eliminating taxes, and subsidizing other costs. Moving towards socialism.

Deficits, which are not allowed in many states, will require additional increases in taxation or deficit borrowing to cover expanded social programs. Moving towards socialism.

Candidates campaigning for elected positions are suggesting government pay for medical care and education for all. Moving towards socialism.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are increasingly applied to reduce costs by replacing labor with automation. This has been forecast to temporary raise wages for high-tech computer programmers and information science employees. Forecast also leads to lower incomes for the same high-tech employees in the future as AI and ML routines are employed, reducing the demand for human programmers.

China is developing social reforms, competing technical skills, and an engineering base that exceeds that of the U.S.. Chinese new economy forum. Mostly financed by excessive exports to the U.S.

Observation Notes:

Comments on impeachment are not included in the summary at this time.

2020 may be a turbulent year for many reasons beyond the three areas of concern identified above:

Negotiations with North Korea, China and Iran have not proven to be reliable. Frequently, if not always, broken promises.

Financially, below zero interest rates exist in some global markets, and the stock market has become more of a hustle than an investment arena. Yes, the market has risen significantly and may be the result of hyping sweetheart stocks, while heavily shorting others . . . is it time for caution?

Always a work in progress.

Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Background: The following issues arise during communication of information, acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. Who knew what, when did they know it, and how did they acquire it?

When preparing plans and programs, attending school or performing research, discussions occur between members of groups. As activities progress, changes occur as a result of lessons learned or changing objectives. Public news or information on the issue may not reflect current status or final outcomes. Discussions based on incomplete or untimely results will most likely be inaccurate.

A common occurrence is when students receive information from teachers without familiarity through experience or association with the subject; and are lacking in wisdom. Information combined with knowledge through experience leads to Wisdom. Without completing the cycle, conflict can occur between participants and the public.

The following are modified from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Definitions may appear to overlap.

Definition of Information: Communication is the operative word. Visual, oral, written or any combination thereof.

The communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence.

(1) Knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction

(2) intelligence, news

(3) facts, data

  • The attribute inherent in and communicated by one of two or more alternative sequences or arrangements of something (such as nucleotides in DNA or binary digits in a computer program) that produce specific effects.
  • A signal or character (as in a communication system or computer) representing data.
  • Something (such as a message, experimental data, or a picture) which justifies change in a construct (such as a plan or theory) that represents physical or mental experience or another construct.
  • A quantitative measure of the content of information specifically a numerical quantity that measures the uncertainty in the outcome of an experiment to be performed.

Definition of Knowledge: Experience is the operative word. Art, agriculture, business, education, engineering, government, manufacturing, medicine, research, science and more. Design and testing to prove concepts.

The fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association.

  • Acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.
  • The fact or condition of being aware of something.
  • The range of one’s information or understanding answered to the best of one’s knowledge.
  • The circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning.
  • The fact or condition of having information or of being a learned person of unusual knowledge.

Definition of Wisdom: Discern is the operative word. Formulate and apply successful concepts based on acquired information and knowledge. 

Ability to discern inner qualities and relationshipsInsight

Good sense: Judgment

Accumulated philosophical or scientific learningKnowledge

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Examples of significant information, knowledge and wisdom disconnects in government.

Note: Selecting a link opens a separate page. Close the page to return to this posting.

$24 Trillion GDP Loss: Result of mismanaged international trade.

Economics for Politicians: Unbalanced global trade can have a negative impact on infrastructure, employment and crime.

Ignorance, Stupidity and Idiocy: Does the level of education guarantee good government?

Gridlock in Government: What has changed since the future forecast for 2014?

State of the Union: Based on real data. Headed down the road to where? You be the judge.

Now you are up to date . . . for the next six years.

The Conundrum of Open-Access Publishing

New principles aiming to democratise academic literature have the support of 11 European countries. But will they solve an age-old problem?

The widespread demand for open-access publications seems to come from a moral standpoint for most academics. Publishers have ripped off scientists for too long – we pay for our papers to be published and then have to buy the paper back off them. Currently, researchers who elect to publish their work with open access are forced to pay inflated prices to the journal. Overall, while largely supported, open access is not without its imperfections.

“it is about money, and the more it’s about money, the more money it’s going to be about”. (Read the full article) The University Times is Ireland’s largest student newspaper, and is the current Student Publication of the Year.

InTechNow 116: Sponge Gets Gold from Waste Water

Image Credit: Pexels
Gold is primarily used in electronics, where it is irreplaceable due to its unique properties. However, diminishing gold supplies and a continuous rise in the production of electronics have led the European Union to label this precious metal as a critical resource.

Considering it can take as much as a ton of ore to yield enough gold for 40 cell phones, it is no surprise that extracting this commodity from sources other than virgin mines is becoming increasingly important.

While gold can be found in a number of different sources, such as electronic waste, sea water, fresh water, waste water, and sewage sludge, there are currently no materials reported that can selectively extract gold from such complex media. (A “sponge” that can get gold out of waste water)