Will 2021 be Happy or Horrible? Our Predictions for the New Year and Beyond

Ready Player One promotional image
Will social distancing lead to virtual realities where our avatars will meet, party and game, just like in the book and movie Ready Player One?

Happy New Year!

While many are happy to see the calendar leave 2020 behind us, I have doubts that 2021 is going to be any better than 2020.  Here are some of my projections for 2021 and in some cases beyond it:

  • COVID-19 will not go away and will result in an even great dichotomy in the U.S. as proof of vaccination will become required to access certain services and locations.  There will be new lockdowns, more emergency measures, new laws, and more court cases.  Wearing masks will be required through 2021 despite a lack of proof that they do any good outside a medical setting.
  • The rich will keep getting richer, but there will be more economic upheaval for the middle class on down.  More people will be hungry and more will be homeless. 
  • The political divide will grow worse, not better.  Biden will have no clear mandate and will face opposition at every turn.  Taxes will be raised but the rich and big corporations will still find loopholes. Deficits will continue to rise.  Congress will get little done.  The 2022 election will see Republicans take over both the house and the Senate, and then even less will get done.
  • The Chinese and the Iranians will test us and people will die as ships are sunk or planes are shot down, possibly by “accident.”  Russia may join in and other countries will cheer from the sidelines.  Europe will be relieved that Trump is gone, but they will not rush to embrace us.  Our trade deficit with China will rise again.  
  • Food prices will continue to increase, as will the costs of many other goods and services, but the government will continue to under-report inflation and ignore its impact.  You will know as your paycheck will buy less, but don’t expect a big raise.
  • Crime will increase as large departments are defunded by democratic politicians and unemployment and homelessness rise.  This will be felt across the country but will be most obvious in cities and the outlying areas. 
  • Failure to enforce quality of life crimes and a willingness to tolerate open drug use and defecation on city streets, combined with the loss of many small business and eateries due to COVID-19, will result in downtowns becoming less appealing.  This will  lower property values, and a cause general outflow of residents.  Much of the recent renaissance enjoyed by urban downtown centers will be reversed.
  • Property values in rural will rise as the wealthy look to escape the cities.  As a result, some red areas will become purple and there will be friction between those who have lived there for years and new arrivals who want to bring what they consider the “better” aspects of their former lives with them.
  • $15-dollar-per hour minimum wage will spread across most of the country.  This will result in more automation of jobs with kiosks, robots, self-driving trucks, and a shift to phone and online service.  There will be more chat bots and fewer real people when you need customer support.  Expect your hold times to increase if you want to talk to a person instead of an AI.
  • There will be more stimulus checks, an extension of unemployment, financial giveaways to certain businesses, and possibly a move towards universal basic income (UBI).  The socialists will not be satisfied with free healthcare and free education, so they will give everyone free money.  Before 2030, Republicans will agree to UBI if it replaces other forms of welfare.  I expect this will simply result in more poverty not less, more drug abuse, more alcoholism, and more crime, but a surge in the stock market and an increase in inflation. 
  • There will be progressively less face-to-face interaction between people and more even entertainment will be enjoyed online and via streaming services.  Social distancing will be the new normal.  In-person shopping will continue to decline in the face of online shopping, which will become increasingly personalized and customized.  Delivery by drones, robots and automated vehicles will increase.  Avatars will replace us online, and they will be more attractive, too.  Rather than physical offices or Zoom calls, business will be conducted in virtual reality.
  • At some point in the future, high speed internet access will be considered a human right and everyone will get some level of free service, probably via satellite.  Our phones will be replaced by or evolve into VR access devices. 
  • I believe we are only a years or a decade away from the virtual reality universe similar to that depicted in the book and movie “Ready Player One” where people have alternate lives in an imaginary online world.  They will interact, form friendships, join clubs, see concerts, and engage is massive multiplayer role playing games online.  Eventually, even social media as we know it will be absorbed into this virtual reality, which will be one of the next technology frontiers and create a new wave of tech billionaires. 
  • Over the next few years, more states will decriminalize pot and other drugs for medical and then recreational use.  After UBI passes, people will sit at home in a mind altered state.  Between the increases in drug use, the lack of a need to work, and the emergence of virtual reality where you can look and act like you’re an Instagram influencer, the segment of the population that never leaves the house will grow and grow.  In the end, their ability to warehouse people may be the only thing that saves cities.

Where Preppers Fit In

If you think society is dependent on electricity and their other utilities right now, wait until people don’t shop in stores because they order everything online, they don’t cook because all their meals are delivered, and they don’t own physical guns because they have all sorts of blasters in their virtual world and they respawn if they are “killed.”  These people are going to be far more vulnerable to a SHTF even than we are today.

Think how young people cannot drive a stick shift, or parallel park without a rear-view camera.  Extrapolate this to when all cars are automated.  What happens to the next generation in an emergency when they cannot drive because very vehicle is self-driving so they never learned to drive manually?

What happens when people are so fat and drugged that they cannot leave their homes?  These days, the fide department occasionally has to cut a wall or widen a doorway so EMS can get an obese person out on a stretcher.  Do you really think that will get better when we no longer need to leave the house to shop, eat, go to school, or work?  Especially when you can look as thin as you want online.  People talk about the COVID-15. That’s just a down payment on future fat. 

As I see it, the future will need preppers more than ever.

In fact, we may be humanity’s last hope because someday, there will be a calamity.  Maybe it will be nuclear war, fought by robots, computers, and drones.  Maybe it will be an exchange of EMPs that knock out electricity across multiple continents and most of the satellites in the sky.  It could be a natural disaster or a distant comet that strikes the earth.  It could even be a deadly pandemic.

And when that calamity comes and 90 percent or more die in the first few months due to a lack of utilities and food, it will be the preppers, the few indigenous people who maintain their old lifestyle, and the rural homesteaders and farmers who will survive and rebuild civilization. 

While I predict a massive shift online over the next five to fifteen years, not everyone will make the transition.  A small segment of the population will not retreat from reality but will embrace it. The lazy, the weak and those who are easily lead will follow their favorite celebrities and influencers into the evolving virtual world where everything is shared electronically and where more than just the news is fake.  The rest of us will let them.  In fact, we’ll be glad to see them drop out.

But for the immediate future, we just have to live through 2021.

Put 2020 in the Red View Mirror

Hey, we made it through 2020. Keep prepping.  Keep your chin up.  You can do it.  One year at a time. 

My prescription for a happier 2021 is as follows:

  • Watch less news
  • Cut the time you spend on social media in half, and then in a few months, in half again
  • Go outdoors more often
  • Make a friend or two, in person
  • Get a dog and walk it – yes, outdoors
  • Save some money
  • Store some food
  • Go shooting every couple of months
  • Consider moving to a more rural location
  • Worry less about what others think
  • Be more independent
  • Keep visiting our website.  We’ll do what we can to help, or at least show you how we are trying to live the life.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Share your own predictions.