In history, there are certain years that bear special significance. Every educated individual understands the importance of 1066, of 1776 and of 1913. And while the Mayan calendar-based eschatology has garnered an amount of media interest and Mexican tourism, there are some reasons to suspect that 2012 will be more historically momentous than the mere fact of it being a presidential election year would tend to indicate.
The reason for this is that a number of recognizable, large-scale historical patterns that have been playing out for years all appear to be coming to a head at approximately the same time. There are four of these distinct trends, which, although inextricably intertwined to some degree, can nevertheless be identified as the economic, political, geo-strategic and demographic patterns.
The economic trend is probably the most important. It has been in what amounts to a holding pattern for the last three years as the five major central banks of the world, including the International Monetary Fund, have battled desperately to prevent the global credit supply, and consequently the global economy, from contracting. Since 2008, they have successfully substituted public debt for private financial and household sector debt, which in the United States has contracted by 20 percent and 5 percent respectively, but the introduction of austerity programs across Europe and the improbability of successfully quadrupling the amount of U.S. federal debt in the next three years tends to suggest that the central banks will be forced to abandon this futile debt-swapping program in 2012.
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On the political front, 2011 has already witnessed the abandonment of democracy in two nations on the periphery of the European Union, Greece and Italy. As other governments across the West run out of money while continuing to rig the electoral systems in order to continue forcing increasingly unpopular pro-bank bailouts and pro-immigration measures down the throats of an unwilling populace, it is highly probable that other nations will embrace post-democratic forms of government. But instead of providing stability, this will only add to the political pressure as even the thin veil of representative sham-democracy is removed and it becomes obvious to even the most naïve individual that the electorate is no longer being permitted any voice in its own governance.