New Virtual World Makes Kids Do Real Life Chores

March 05 2008 / by Venessa Posavec / In association with Future
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 5

Can’t get little Johnny to do his chores? Try using a virtual world as a parenting tool to instill the Protestant work ethic in him.

A California-based company, Handipoints, just launched an online community to make work fun. Targeting kids aged 4-12, the community already has 140,000 users. Parents can set up online chore charts and an allowance program, and kids earn points for completing real world tasks. They can then use those points to unlock characters and games in the virtual world, called HandiLand, or save up points in exchange for whatever rewards the parents have chosen.

Virtual worlds aren’t just about games anymore. Now kids can be motivated to do their chores, learn economics, and understand that nothing in life is free.

It’s all part of an emerging trend as virtual worlds are being used as platforms for all kinds of innovations.

Where will China and other nations invest as the U.S. dollar continues to fall?

April 15 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: 2008   Rating: 4 Hot

Futurist Patrick Dixon compellingly argues that the global economic environment is ripe for Chinese investment in bargain priced banks and U.S. property holdings:

Dixon asserts that it is in U.S. interests to allow direct Chinese investment, lest the rising economy allocate its money elsewhere.

He also expects sovereign wealth fund managers representing other powerhouse economies to diversify into technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, mining and oil industry if prices continue to fall.

[Video] The Crash Course - An Open Look at the Future

January 19 2009 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: Beyond   Rating: 3 Hot

Crash CourseChris Martenson has created a series of videos called The Crash Course 'to provide you with a baseline understanding of the economy so that you can better appreciate the risks that we all face.'

Martenson shows how important it is for us to understand the enormous implications of exponential growth, debt-deficits, wealth creation, asset bubbles and demographic shifts, resource production plateaus, hedonic models, fuzzy numbers of GDP, et al.

Martenson is not necessarily trying to sell a vision of inevitable collapse. Rather he makes a strong case to highlight the observable fundamental flaws in our current economic behavior and models, and the dire consequences of what might happen if we do nothing to change our course.

This is a must watch set of videos for thinking about the future.

The Crash Course: Table of Contents

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Just How Bad Will the Current Economic Crisis Get?

October 10 2008 / by Accel Rose / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: General   Rating: 1

“As GM goes, so goes America.” – Let’s all hope that famous maxim doesn’t apply now.

Yesterday General Motors stock closed below $6 for the first time since the 1950s. Then last night, the financial woes worsened as most foreign stock markets plunged between 4% and 9%. Now this morning we’re all left wondering, “Just how bad will this get? Are we nearing the worst of this crisis?”

Here’s a CNN summary of the action:

Some economists are optimistic that we’re nearing the bottom, but many others are bracing for another Great Depression.

What do you think?

Just How Bad Will the Current Economic Crisis Get?

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Cassidy: Quite Likely We're in a Depression

January 15 2009 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: 2009   Rating: 1


With the Obama administration gearing up for action, the Fall stock market crash fading from memory, and a new year underway many economists (especially most of the folks I regularly watch on CNBC and Bloomberg) are predicting recovery to commence in the second half of 2009.  Having noted the slow spread of the mortgage crisis, which some predicted several years before it ever began to look serious, I am more than a bit skeptical about their underlying assumptions and the likelihood of a near-term turn-around.

Fortunately there are some economists like Condé Nast Portfolio contributing editor John Cassidy who agree that economists may not be the best predictors of things economic. Pointing out their poor track record in 2008 (live by the Greenspan, die by the Greenspan), Cassidy now contrasts their 2009 forecasts against those of the general public and of finance professionals, revealing that the economists are far more optimistic than the rest. 

He then asks the obvious question:

So who are we to believe: the experts who failed to predict the current crisis or the great American public? With due respect to my fellow dabblers in the dismal science [economics], I share Joe the Plumber’s queasy feeling. Unless something miraculous happens in the next few weeks, the new inhabitant of the Oval Office will inherit an economy flailing under the weight of record debts and rising unemployment. If a depression is defined as a deep, extended recession of a severity that nobody under the age of 75 can recall, then it is quite likely that we are already in one.

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