By Dian Cohen
None of this will be new to readers of this column. I am reiterating it today because the future is more uncertain than what we usually have to deal with, and my gut feeling is that having a plan in place will be helpful — soon.
The economic crystal ball has never been as transparent as quartz or Plexiglass, but in recent years is more comparable to looking through a snow globe with blizzard conditions. There are other reasons to be wary – it’s not just the economic outlook that’s semi-opaque. It’s difficult to see where the exponential trajectory of new technologies – artificial intelligence (AI), generative AI, 3D printing, drones, robotics, synthetic biology – is taking us. And the socio-political landscape is changing in Canada as around the world, with vocal groups consolidating to split our attention and support – movements that include the rights of Indigenous peoples, climate change policies, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Herewith some imaginable economic backdrops for the next few years:
- Inflation remains above 2 per cent, interest rates and prices stay at today’s levels. This is where we are today. Mortgage rates stay elevated, grocery prices stay elevated, your dollar doesn’t go as far.
- Inflation rises, interest rates rise. Rising trade barriers, ageing population, the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, an inflationary psychology are all reasons to think inflation will be harder to manage.