In the month of January, views of the year 2021 could be read everywhere. Pascal Hügli has gone a step further, and has ventured into looking at the more distant future and has outlined what the world of 2030 will look like.
It is January 1, 2030, and the decade that of 2020, which was dominated by the pandemic, has just come to an end. What had begun in 2020, with a seemingly harmless virus, quickly developed into a historic turning point. Even before the scare year was over, the Coronavirus mutated, leading to further lockdowns well into 2021.
The “global society” eventually managed to contain the virus and things returned to normal – a new normal, of course. The once badly battered economic and social life blossomed again. Nominal fetishists of all stripes celebrated the impressive growth figures, forgetting that the recovery was not so much an economic miracle as the resuscitation of a clinically dead person.
The largely irrevocable destruction of intellectual and cultural capital continued to strongly characterize the years that followed 2020. Increasingly unimaginable excesses of populist violence came to light, to which increasingly paralyzed institutions reacted with political impotence. By the end of the decade, some political structures were barely recognizable. Although the Western countries are still formally democracies, a considerable number of their citizens have long since turned to political nihilism and have withdrawn from public discourse.
A Future That Could Have Been Foreseen
What is interpreted by some as a lost decade, for others, was a decade of unprecedented exponentiality. Trends such as digitization, robotics, quantum computing, biotechnology, health tech and more have evolved in exponential ways. The greatest exponentiality of all development, however, was exhibited by global monetary growth.
To maintain the dollar standard, the Federal Reserve did not swell its balance sheet to $20 trillion, which would be equivalent to more than two-thirds of total U.S. GDP. No, the U.S. finally showed its colours and implemented the political unification of fiscal and monetary policy. This was done according to the theses of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). The U.S. Treasury annexed the Federal Reserve System, and thus the central bank.
Gone are the days when the U.S. Treasury had to issue government bonds via the financial market to finance itself. With the implementation of MMT, the U.S. government has created the necessary money for itself from now on, and distributes the money according to a political distribution formula. The politicization of the treasury is thus perfect, and taxes are now only for managing the economy to control inflation. Both have made lobbying in the USA the unmistakable core competence of companies and corporations.
Tectonic changes have also occurred on the old continent. For several years now, the EU has been rebranding itself as the UDNE: the United Debt Nation of Europe. The debt policies of European countries have been harmonized, and the so-called Eurobonds are bought almost exclusively by the European Central Bank. In order to save the Euro from the ever increasing threat of hyperinflation, monetary policy is supported from the regulatory side. By means of numerous exotic capital controls, attempts are being made to prevent the flight from the fiat currency. The fact that the EU has not followed the U.S. example of MMT is mainly due to the fact that – to the astonishment of many – it still has the most governable and reliable taxpayers in the world – the Germans.
Still not incorporated into the UDNE – also to the astonishment of many – is Switzerland. In the Helvetic Alpine republic, the standard of living is still somewhat higher than in the rest of Europe. Because one can afford it, according to the financial policy understanding in Switzerland, the basic income has now become established in this country. But there are fears that Switzerland is merely a kind of open-air protector with an expiration date for the UDNE, just as Hong Kong used to be opposite.
A look at Asia
Speaking of Asia: In China, the development around the notorious social credit system and with it, total control (according to Western understanding) has bought very worst nightmares to fruition. Economically, China has risen to become the strongest economy. A few Chinese are now among the richest people in the world. While large territories especially in Africa belong to them due to land grabbing, whole districts of Europe (for example in Barcelona and even in Vienna) are nowadays also in Chinese hands. These are predominantly cultivated for Asian tourists – in the style of museum-like amusement parks.
Although the Middle Kingdom has been able to extend its influence across the world, it has not completely left the rest of the world behind. Because although the Chinese, due to their social cultural understanding, appreciate total control much more than anyone else, the latter, as well as the equally expansive credit money growth in China, shows a strongly decreasing marginal utility and goes to the substance of the people.
This “human wear and tear” is most impressive in Japan. If the country was still struggling with the problem of overworking its own population in the late 2010s, this “Karōshi phenomenon,” as it was also called, has now disappeared. No country fell into the zero interest rate trap earlier and has therefore been affected by its negative social consequences for so long.
Japan today resembles a doll’s house. A considerable proportion of people live as parasitic singles, so-called hikikomori. They are lonely and withdrawn in their own homes. Many Japanese have become accustomed to interpersonal relationships, especially love relationships. If they long for a little closeness in a moment of their otherwise dreary lives, they can order an instant partner via smartphone to hold hands or more. This “love-on-demand” industry is currently one of Japan’s most flourishing industries. From being one of the most innovative nations on earth, Nippon has become one of the most hopeless.
Labor: A Relic Of The Past
This is striking – particularly in the West. Most people no longer work in the private sector. When they do, they work for large corporations such as pharmaceutical companies, financial institutions or tech giants and, like the small cog in the large gear, function strictly according to rules and instructions. The vast majority of citizens, meanwhile, are state employees and a considerable proportion are independent of the state. Those who are independent of the state have long since given up working and have given up any prospects. Hanging onto the states’ drip, they barely make ends meet.
Opposite them is a group of people who anticipated the endless printing of money as early as the beginning of the last century. They knew how to exploit it to their advantage. By investing in specific assets, they were able to profit from an unprecedented asset price inflation.
Many of these assets are digital, yet absolutely scarce. Meanwhile, for example, there are abstract objects and values that can only be seen and accessed using technologies such as augmented or virtual reality. It is not uncommon for these assets to have more value than their traditional physical counterparts. For example, many a digital construction of a property in cyberspace trades higher than parcels of land in the real world, the so-called “meat-space.”
The various digital parallel worlds are no longer inferior to the real world by any means. They are teeming with professional shit-posters who find their purpose on social media primarily in infotainment, occasionally also in edutainment. They indulge in the surreal nature of the events of this past decade. They live primarily from their digital treasures, and high price gains.
Quite a few of them are so-called netizens (citizens of the Internet) and live mainly in a new world, the Bitcoin world. As an alternative financial system, this permeates the various virtual parallel worlds and is now worth hundreds of trillions of US dollars. A mature world of decentralized finance makes it possible to fully map and transact any financial transaction known from the traditional world through public Blockchains. While those still entrenched in the traditional world receive their paychecks denominated in digital central bank money, there is an ever-growing number of people who, meanwhile, live a “crypto-only” lifestyle.
Sunk Into Irrelevance
Fiat currencies now play only a subordinate role in the new world. Crypto-assets such as Bitcoin have reached such great market depth that stablecoins based on them allow stable-price economies. Bitcoin can be used as so-called “high-powered collateral” to secure loans and are considered the new reserve asset par excellence.
Google and its ilk are also benefiting from these decentralized systems. The tech giants have virtually risen to become their own digital nations. Their shares have long been tokenized. As financial infrastructure, they use public Blockchains as global settlement networks through which volumes in the trillions are transacted. At the same time, the concept of “self-sovereign identities” provides the first means of identification independent of traditional states, which strengthens the new digital nations against the traditional world.
The technological innovation that is mainly at home in this new world has also made it possible to pay instantaneously with equity shares anywhere. This allows one to be invested in assets at any given time. When purchasing groceries online, for example, payment is made by selling those tokenized share units that are currently up. With the monthly salary, if it is not paid out directly in assets, those share certificates will be purchased in each case that seem lucrative in price at the moment. An automatic, continuous rebalancing is thus guaranteed.
Self-Sovereignty At The Highest Level
It has been interpreted that the tech giants have declared war on the US State because they have turned their backs on it. by As a result, in recent years, the state has intensified its efforts to break them up.
As a counter to these intentions, Google has set an example and recently invested a large part of its cash reserves in Bitcoin. In this way, the company has laid the foundation for moving to a Bitcoin standard in the medium to long term and finally breaking away from fiat. Despite quite a few threats and actual attempts, U.S. government officials have so far failed to arbitrarily seize the funds invested in Bitcoin, and thus the majority of Google’s financial power.
The example already seems to be making the rounds, as there are already rumours that other companies would now like to buy this degree of monetary sovereignty in 2031. After all, censorship-resistant digital gold offers players an unprecedented degree of negotiating power. This makes the tech giants multinational sovereigns on an equal footing with their states. The stage is thus set for another exciting decade. Already, we are looking forward to the beginning of 2040, when we will look back at the decade of 2030.