Brace Yourself

Two main changes in awareness are underway; the awakening by common citizens, and the creeping recognition that the economic problems are more deep-seated than anyone wanted to admit.

This has been a year of momentous events, from the Arab Spring to the Israeli summer of protest, followed by the Occupy Wall Street movement come the fall and the unraveling of the euro bloc as winter approached.

Two main changes in awareness are underway. One is the awakening by common citizens, who have had it up to here with their rights being trampled − human rights, social rights or economic rights − and are taking matters into their own hands. The second is the creeping recognition that not only were the economic malaises exposed in the great crash of 2008 not solved, they were more deep-seated than anyone wanted to admit − and last year’s rally may have only been the eye of the storm.

Housing protest - Nir Keidar - August 2011
Nir Kedar

The year 2012 heralds promise for citizens’ movements. But all indicators say it also portends vast upheaval for the global economy. As we bid farewell to 2011 and welcome in 2012, TheMarker brings you a special year-end magazine dedicated to these very issues − what changed, and what to expect.

Guy Rolnik describes the year that was and hazards a prediction for the new year: Beware, ye 1%. Don’t expect the other 99% to regress to their tame behavior of the last 20 years.

In the spirit of 2011’s new consumer awareness, Shanee Shiloh, Adaya Fiterman and Elli Malki point out distortions you may not have noticed. Shiloh looks into why Israeli designer clothing is so expensive while Fiterman does the same for restaurants, and Malki explains why consumers have more to gain from asserting themselves with their investment managers than with the cottage-cheese manufacturers.

As we ring in 2012, Sarit Menahem and Meirav Arlosoroff are here to help you formulate some new year’s resolutions, with a review of investors’ seven deadly sins and some advice to keep you out of poverty in your golden years, respectively.

As for what the future holds, Pinchas Landau analyzes the global economy and comes to a particularly bleak forecast, but tells you what to do about it. Nathan Sheva looks at the up-and-coming developing-market powerhouses − Brazil, Russia, India and China − and the overwhelming obstacles they must overcome on their route to global economic dominance. On the plus side, Asher Schecter notes that growing awareness coupled with economic distress mean good things for the environment.

Do these forecasts make you wish you could stop time and just stay in 2011, full of upheaval as it may have been? Not possible, of course. Be comforted by the knowledge that the new year is unlikely to be boring.

Happy new year,
Liz Steinberg
Editor, TheMarker English End of Year Supplement