Four Flipped Social Paradigms For 2011

Bywater section of New Orleans: Front steps to home has "KEEP OFF HIPSTERS" painted on. Home is across the street from a bar where people who might be labeled "Hipsters" congregate. Image credit:Wikipedia, excerpted from the original.

#1. It's not a house it's a home: - Acceptance of a new paradigm of home ownership will be the biggest flip of 2011. Home builders and re-modelers will see that residences can no longer be marketed as cash assets (though the replacement paradigm is unknown). Obviously, smaller and more comfortable will substitute for Mega and gated. Perhaps those who live in or stand to inherit energy efficient, well designed homes will be seen as lucky duckies. Luckier still will be those who have homes with land enough for a kitchen garden, with sustainable water resources, and diverse local economy. (Drum roll for all the magazine rankings to come.) This will frustrate corporate America, as it is hard to corner the market on community, or shared beliefs, or distributed power.

Other social paradigm shifts will be well under way in 2011.#2. Chinese "socialism" leads US libertarianism.
As is aptly demonstrated by Chinese government's decision to Cut Rare Earths Exports by 10% in 2011 - the rare earths are essential for the manufacture and functioning of electric vehicles, plug in hybrids, wind turbines, hydroelectric turbines and defense and aerospace tech - they know a boom market when they see one.

By the end of 2010 enough Americans may have stopped licking microdots from copies of the Constitution for a political reformation to occur. It will be based on the realization that China has a strong lead in critical technologies and may soon dominate world monetary policy. These developments risk leaving the US to play the role of raw material supplier instead of value added innovator and financier to the world. What angry voters will do when this sinks in is unclear.

#3. Commodity price blues.
For US consumers, the costs of food, fuel, and electricity are rising in fast synchrony, driven by a mix of growing consumption in developing economies (China mainly), climate change, fertilizer shortage, peak oil, speculative commodity futures buying, and corporate lobbyists running government. The lower your income, the more you'll feel the pain.

In 2011, US consumers will see that the people they have elected are powerless to overcome these rapid and continuing price rises. Problems caused by world population growth and rising per-capita consumption are spreading faster than one government's action can cope with.

Recycling will help as a long term measure. But there's no point in waiting for a consumption-based economic rally. Until the Asian economic boom slows or even reverses, Americans will have to be satisfied breathing Chinese coal dust as the cargo containers sit empty.

The political upshot for the next US election will be a debate about the need to revise global trade agreements.

Libertarianism has had a pretty good run on cable TV. Fashions do change and I wonder what the replacement shows will be?

#4. Hipster Shmipster
Speaking of fashion, 2011 will be the year in which so few of the middle class will be able to afford new-bought clothing that "hipsterism" - the very most unselfconscious sort - will have gained widespread acceptance. Neighbors will learn to love mixed fashion metaphors among those hanging out (unlike in the photo shown above).

Random recycling is so hipper than government-dictated curbside fashion sorting. Even Sara Palin can do this. I can hardly wait to learn all about it from the CNN situation room.

A bit of context from Wikipedia:

One commentator argues that "hipsterism fetishizes the authentic" elements of all of the "fringe movements of the postwar era--beat, hippie, punk, even grunge," and draws on the "cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity", and "regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity."[3] Others, like Arsel and Thompson, argue that hipster is a cultural mythology, crystallization of a mass mediated stereotype generated to understand, categorize and marketize the indie consumer culture rather than an objectified group of people.[4]


treehugger slideshows