Futurist Project Introduction

Regular reader and frequent commenter Edward Charles Ponzi Jr. sends word of his new Futurist Project. I hope he won’t mind if I quote him in full:

An Alternative View of the Future…

We all act as if we can predict the future. We marry; sign 30-year mortgages, 10-year commercial leases, 5-year car loans and 2-year magazine subscriptions.

There are some mighty assumptions necessary to make commitments like some of those acts described above — assumptions developed with very little thought, research or historical context. It is worth noting that we must be careful about the terms: “always” and “in the long run”. That is because US (and other) economic history is the story of very long CYCLES.

Along those lines, there is a lot we know about public and private balance sheets, credit-monetary expansion, and bubbles hiding in plain sight plus other future liabilities and demographics. These are powerful tools for thinking about the future. I believe that enough is known about our economy to safely state that – to some extent or another – we are living beyond our means.

So, when something is unsustainable – what happens when it stops? My back-of-the-envelope calculations tell me that a future of continuing growth and affluence is close to impossible.

The premise of the entity under construction is that virtually no one out there is thinking about what our future might be like under circumstances of a shrinking, challenged and troubled economy. It may be human nature to think about the future in terms of two decades of recent experience – but that may not be the most accurate methodology.

When thinking about the future — economics is key. What would a “futurist” working in 1927 think? All cars will soon be 12 or 16 cylinders? Based on an analysis of advancements in engine design — that might not have been the craziest idea in the world — BUT — economics and not technology had the final say.

I am looking to bring unique and REALISTIC ideas to planning for the future. And planning for the future is something everyone needs to do.

I am an inventor and entrepreneur – not an economist or mathematician — as there is no direct guidance as to what our society might be like under some of the circumstances we are discussing — thinking about that is an INVENTIVE process.

Currently, I am seeking to put together a collaborative of economists, mathematicians, social scientists, people knowledgeable about energy and climate, etc. – and other interesting thinkers.

If this subject interests you – please contact me and introduce yourself.


Edward Charles Ponzi Jr.
Hooverville Falls
The Republic of Vermont
edthedci AT gmail DOT com

Feel free to contact him directly. But perhaps we can stimulate some discussion here as well. Do you feel that “a future of continuing growth and affluence is close to impossible”? I’ll be honest… I’m not sure I do. I suspect continuing growth and affluence may look very different in the future… certainly, a 14th century peasant would not recognize the ability to download music over the net to be part of growth and affluence. But also, not everyone truly benefits from growth and affluence. Perhaps (and here I haven’t checked any numbers) the percentage of children who die under age 5 from malnoutrition is at a low point, but the numbers are still staggering. And I get the impression that even while Middle Class America has more today than ever before, it is more worried that in the future it will be unable to meet its bills than ever before. Anyway, I haven’t given this anywhere near the thought Edward Charles Ponzi Jr. has, but I (and no doubt he) would love to hear your thoughts.