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《财富》水晶球:2014全球大事预测

新的一年会不会爆出更大规模的监控丑闻?苹果会不会推出堪与iPod、iPhone、iPad比肩的重磅新产品?北极资源争夺战会不会擦枪走火?电动汽车会不会大流行?比特币能否进入主流?……新年到来之际,《财富》预测了2014年可能会发生的重大事件。

    下一个泡沫

    艺术品

    去年,本已有些膨胀的艺术品市场又被泵入大量空气。首先,弗朗西斯•培根的一幅画作(或者说一幅三联画)以1.428亿美元售出,创下了有史以来单幅作品的拍卖新纪录,足足比2008年售出的另一幅出自培根之手的三联画高出了165%。接着,杰夫•昆斯的一尊狗雕塑作品创下了在世艺术家作品的最高拍卖价:5,800万美元。这两起拍卖发生在佳士得拍卖行(Christie)举办的同一场晚间拍卖会上,它或许意味着以下两件事之一:这种大肆炒作预示着各路收藏家即将争相出售艺术品,泡沫破灭指日可待;抑或,这就是大肆炒作而已。艺术品市场今年崩盘的几率微乎其微。这年头,有太多的亿万富豪需要填充太多的墙壁。概率:14%

    学生贷款

    目前尚未偿还的学生贷款余额预计高达1,500亿美元,如此巨款犹如千钧重担,压得应届和毕业已经若干年的往届大学毕业生苦不堪言。于数百万美国年轻人而言,这是一个真真切切的问题。但它是一个泡沫吗?不完全是——这至少是按历史标准评判的结论。回望2006年和2007年,学生贷款市场协会(Sallie Mae,又称萨利美)发行,由各大银行交易的学生贷款支持证券( SLABS)价值近1,350亿美元。如今,许多银行已经彻底放弃了学生贷款业务,目前的SLABS交易额仅为11亿美元。这个数据已经在报端引发热议——相较于泡沫泛滥的时期,它几乎连一个涟漪都算不上。尽管如此,估计会有许多媒体人(和一些自诩的媒体人)把它称为泡沫。亚伦•索尔金将其写入《新闻编辑室》(The Newsroom)剧本的几率为:75%。

    会议

    首先要说明的是,有一个会议就叫“泡沫会议”(BubbleConf)。它的受众群体是企业家,但更能说明问题的是,它之所以诞生,是因为其创始人需要简单地“组织一场会议”。据美国劳工统计局(the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)预计,年营收额已经高达大约800亿美元的会议及会展业将在未来10年扩张44%(当然,《财富》自己也主办好几场会议)。但这股会议浪潮的最佳代言人莫过于美国规划协会(American Planning Association)将于2014年在亚特兰大举办的集会——从字面上看,这是一场旨在规划更多会议的会议。精彩电视台(Bravo)是否将围绕这场会议之会议的出席者开发一个真人秀节目?几乎确凿无疑:97%。

    The next bubbles

    Art

    Plenty of air was pumped into the already tumescent market for fine art last year. First a painting (or one set of three) by Francis Bacon sold for $142.8 million, the most ever paid for a work at auction and a 165% spike in price from when the last Bacon triptych sold, in 2008. Then a dog sculpture by Jeff Koons fetched $58 million, the most ever paid for a work by a living artist. That this happened on the same night, in the same Christie's auction, could mean one of two things: rampant speculation portending the end of a bubble as everyone scrambles to sell, or just plain rampant speculation. Odds that the art market collapses this year? Only slight. Too many billionaires these days need to fill too many walls: 14%

    Student Loans

    There is an estimated $150 billion in outstanding student loans weighing down most recent and not-so-recent college graduates. For millions of young Americans, it's a genuine problem. But is it a bubble? Not really -- at least by the standards of history. Look back to 2006 and 2007, when banks traded nearly $135 billion worth of Sallie Mae's student-loan asset-backed securities (known as SLABS). Today many banks are out of the student-loan biz altogether, and just $1.1 billion in SLAB trading makes waves in the papers -- barely a ripple compared with far frothier times. Still, count on many in the media (and pretend media) to call it that. Odds that Aaron Sorkin will write it into the plot of The Newsroom:75%

    Conferences

    First thing first: There is a conference named BubbleConf; it is for entrepreneurs, but more telling, it was born out of its founders' need to simply "organize a conference." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the convention and event industry, which already generates an estimated $80 billion a year, to expand by 44% over the next decade --Fortune, of course, has a few conferences of its own. But nothing captures the conference proliferation quite like the American Planning Association's 2014 gathering in Atlanta -- which, literally, is a conference for planning more conferences. What are the odds that Bravo will develop a reality show around the people at the conference of conferences? A near-sure thing: 97%.

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