Washington Irving's classic tale involves Rip Van Winkle falling asleep and waking up 20 years later in a different world. I have been ruminating on the question of what the world will look like in 20 years and the best way to approach the issue is to imagine what the headlines will look like. Here's what I think we will see in Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times in 2032.
1. Federal Reserve Clarifies "Extended Period" Language: Zero Interest Rates to Last Until At Least the Third Quarter of 2087 in Order to Support Sluggish Economy.
2. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) Winds Up Stock Repurchase Program with Purchase of the Last 100 Shares for $300 Billion: Complex Corporate Governance Issues Arise With the Abolition of Shareholders
3. Analysts Downgrade Seagate (NASDAQ:STX): Disk Drive Sales Expected to Decline Next Year.
4. Final Touches Put on Dodd-Frank Regulations: Court Challenges to Controversial Rules Set to Commence Next Year.
5. Net Corporate Balance Sheet Cash Hits $15 Trillion Mark: Repatriation of Cash to USA Would Involve Insuperable Shipping and Handling Problems
6. Republicans Get Serious About the National Debt: Promise to Balance the Budget by 2167 if Projected 8% Annual GDP Growth Can be Achieved.
7. Japan's "Lost Century" Continues: GDP Growth Falls to .000001 Per Cent.
8. Greenland Beach Resorts Deserted Due to Oppressive Heat; Global Warming Debate Still Unresolved.
9. ECB and Bundesbank in Talks Over Funding Solutions: Bail Out of All 13 Euro Countries, Leading Banks and 23 Special Purpose Entities Created To Assist in Sovereign Finance Tabled Until Bond Buying Dispute Can Be Resolved.
And the 10th Headline from 2032 will be???????