About CFG (Cambridge Forecast Group):
In a structural system-crisis, such as we are now in, the usual diagnoses and forecasts are useless since a structural system-crisis means that the textbooks and experts are suddenly all wrong.
This is true for the entire 1973-2008 period.
The purpose of CFG is to explain this structural system-crisis and introduce a unique kind of forecasting based on long-term historical trends.
Economic globalization, for example, first shows up in the data in the 1820ís with "commodity price convergence." This historical process combines with other processes such as industrialization and the polarization of the world into West and Third World, to give us the scaffolding of the world we are in.
At the heart of these trends, today, is the changing relationship between the West and the Third World.
This changing relationship and the globalization story are driving each other.
This changing relationship is clearly visible from economic data, as new global patterns emerge:
"As in the nineteenth century data, there appears to be a clear connection between interest rate volatility and economic recessions, at least for the recessions of 1973-1975, 1980, and 1981-82...Nor is this pattern unique to the United States. For example, domestic interest rate spikes preceded the strong economic downturns in Mexico in 1994, Brazil and Argentina in 1995, and Korea and the Philippines in 1997, each of which had important similarities with the financial crises seen repeatedly in the United States in the nineteenth century."
Furthermore, "stagflation" in the US in the 1970s cannot be analyzed in the manner of Profs. Paul Samuelson and Morris Adelman of MIT as lineal consequences of the two oil shocks of '73 and '78/'79 since the oil shocks themselves are part of this West/Third World "double helix."
The oil shocks and the stagflation, the gyrations in the dollar and energy prices, trade and budget imbalances, Third World currency and debt crises, are causes and effects that lie along both sides of a global Moebius strip, as pictured on the left, and cannot be isolated in a static fashion. The oil shocks are at the deepest level not the cause of the crisis but a consequence of it. This is true for the entire crisis period, 1973-2005.
CFG calls such Samuelson and Adelman-type anti-Third World explanations of change "Zionomics" since they reflect, at the deepest level, the rise of an acute Zionist anti-Third World antagonism.
The world-famous Egyptian economist Samir Amin analyzes the world-system as a systematic political economy "trap" for the Third World and advocates de-linking by the Third World, while the neo-cons, theoreticians of the Zionist anti-Third World antagonism, also advocate de-linking, but by the West, for exactly obverse reasons.
Sharon's "apartheid wall" in Palestine is the ultimate global symbol of violent de-linking today.
CFG is the analytical headquarters of re-linking. Re-linking analyzes and predicts a new relationship between the West and the Third World. It will be this new relationship which will give the world economy a new engine. This engine began to fail in the 1970's and it is this engine-failure that caused the stagflation of that decade as well as subsequent global imbalances through 2005.
Among these "subsequent global imbalances" is the massive US current account deficit. Commenting on the 2005 US current account deficit, the famous Berkeley macroeconomist Maurice Obstfeld says of this particular global imbalance:
"In absolute terms, of course, the deficit is the biggest ever seen in world history, absorbing a full-three quarters of the world's available external surpluses - including those of China, Japan, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland."
(from: Professor Maurice Obstfeld, America's Deficit, the World's Problem, Bank of Japan, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Discussion Paper Series, July 2005, page 1)
The CFG perspective is that such global imbalances are themselves caused by deeper "plate tectonics" which will lead to "seismic shifts." A reviewer of some of our Japanese-language CFG books from the 1980's says of our analyses of these tectonics and seismic shifts:
"As in their previous work, 'World Economy/Big Prediction' (Kappa Publishing from 1984), the authors base their long term view on the assumption that modernization of the developing world will be the engine of world economic growth in the future."
(for the full review and our forecasts from as far back as the 1980's, see: http://www.cambridgeforecast.org/review.htm)
Thus CFG analysis links together:
1. global imbalances
2. the deeper tectonics that cause them
3. expected seismic shifts via West/Third World re-linking, and this leads us to forecast anew:
4. "the modernization of the developing world will be the engine of world economic growth in the future."
Demographic trends reinforce these links and forecasts, as the June 2005 UN "Population Newsletter" shows:
"The population of the world stands at 6.5 billion today, an increase of 380 million since 2000. Despite declining fertility, world population is projected to grow to 9.1 billion by mid-century. While population at the global level continues to increase, that of the more developed regions as a whole is barely changing - virtually all population growth is occurring in the less developed regions."
(UN "Population Newsletter," Number 79, "World Population Prospects," page 1, June 2005)
The four pictures you see below give you a "flow chart" of the CFG approach:
1. you examine the world with long-term historical trends in mind. (the eye looking for intelligence)
In other words, CFG uses a completely novel forecasting technology based on the process of West/Third World re-linking, with the Middle East as key "theatre."
To analyze globalization, the Middle East & the world-system.
To explain relevant newspaper stories.
CFG Perspective On Newspapers:
"The front page of every newspaper contains a large-scale report of world-history as a whole; a few pages later, the reader finds stories reported which are small, less remote from everyday life, such as news of the social life of the city. And finally, in a corner stands the daily weather report.
Anyone who has not become dulled through habitual reading of the paper will have to ask the following question: What do these three "spheres of life" have in common, large-scale world history, the small events of daily life, and nature...?
The simple fact that man must live in the midst of nature, his environment, and world-history, determines the way we must approach the events of the world"
"From Hegel to Nietzsche" by Karl Loewith, 1967 paperback, Doubleday Anchor Books, page 212.
© 1997-2008 Cambridge Forecast Group