Predictions: The Economy and Business in 2011

Last year's predictions are here.

And for this year . . .


  • The Megaregions will be where the economic drive is happening, but the news is going to take time (into 2012) to notice it because it doesn't fit the narrative of Scrappy Places Making it.
  • China will continue to dominate the international economic news in the US for 2011, and everyone will forget India.  This is until something comes out of India to surprise people – I don't know what that is, but India is being way, way too ignored.
  • Acquisitions and mergers will continue into 2011, tapering off near the end of the year.  Companies are consolidating and positing themselves, but there's still a bit too much "survival mode" mentality right now.
  • The US – and world – economy will continue to limp along, but this is going to be a very lame recovery for probably two more years.  America will not shake the high unemployment, and it won't dip below 9% this year.
  • The stability of the economy, policies, and politics will be questioned due to continuing austerity unrest in multiple countries.  America's unemployed will try to become more vocal an visible, which will confuse the usual news services who can't fit it into a narrative either.
  • The politics of the economy will continue to be unpredictable, mores in America where ideology matters more than actual numbers.  A lot of the economic decisions made by the government will end up being half-baked compromises, sprinkled with good ideas and bizarre policies.  We will hear more calls for rationality or moderation in 2011, but not everyone will listen due to the drumbeat of the 2012 campaigns.
  • There will be more political and economic scandals coming in the US, especially involving banks and home loans.  States will start cracking down on foreclosures and asking the feds for help.


  • Mergers, mergers, mergers. We’re going to be seeing some very high-profile team-ups next year, starting with the final consummation of the much-rumored union between AOL and Yahoo. This will happen sooner rather than later, and reestablish AOL into its old position as a player in the online marketplace.
  • I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that Google is going to follow the advice of pundits and bloggers and acquire MySpace. It’s a win-win for them both. MySpace would have Google’s muscle behind it to cement its position as a niche social media service (still the go-to one for music, with everyone from local bar bands to international acts to J-rockers having pages there). Google would have a established brand name to mount their challenge to Facebook, rather than starting from scratch.
  • Going out on another limb, I’m going to further predict that Barnes and Noble will merge with Borders, as has been rumored – but neither brand is going to disappear. Rather, they will be two stores under the same parent company, each serving a slightly different market – B&N superserving the mainstream, Borders taking on more niche and esoteric material (extensive selections of genre fiction, manga, etc.). However, I don’t think both the Nook and the Kobo are going to survive – the Nook will be the E-reader of choice for both. (Borders borrowed the Kobo from a Canadian bookstore chain, anyway).

Steven Savage