The Future of Work: Economic Predictions

By Madeline C. Gerwick

As we enter the year 2001 and a new millennium, there are always predictions. As a business astrologer, I’d like to tell you about some work place and economic predictions for the coming years ahead that could change our lives in major ways.

These predictions fall under the following categories:

  1. Changes to the nature of the workplace
  2. Changes to capitalism as we know it today
  3. Changes to the way we use and view time

Look Forward to Workplace Tribes!

The first of these changes, to the nature of the workplace, is already underway in some parts of the world. For example, in Sweden the words for business (“Naerings Liv”) can be literally translated to mean “nourishment for life”. The main purpose of business in Sweden is to provide creative, fulfilling work for the people who live in their country. This is a very unusual idea in the United States, where we tend to make the bottom line our main focus for business. Yes we have to earn a profit, but is that all we need to do to be successful?

With Pluto in Sagittarius (1995 – 2010), we’re now becoming aware of our need for spiritual purpose in our daily work. We want to find meaning in our work, not just a paycheck. We can already see this happening, with articles, newsletters, and conferences about spirituality in business. There’s a new movement afoot: some employees no longer want to leave their hearts and souls at home or in the car when they go to work. They want to be able to express their true authentic and creative selves while at work.

This doesn’t fit very well with our traditional pyramidal and controlling style of business. In these typical business structures, senior management is on top, followed closely by investors. In the middle are the middle managers and at the bottom of the pyramid are all the other employees. In general, these businesses believe that employees, regardless of their functions, are easily replaceable. Even businesses that loudly claim employees are their most valued resources tend to behave a lot differently when quarterly reports to stockholders are due.

My first prediction is that over the next several years, companies will develop into more of a tribal model, where all members are interdependent with each other and more importantly, they will recognize this. Consider for a moment that workplaces have nearly evolved into modern-day equivalents of tribes. For example, much of our social interactions and participation occurs at work. It’s where we are most commonly rewarded and disciplined for our group contributions and efforts. Most importantly, it’s where we earn our livelihood and gain our benefits, such as health care, sick leave, higher education and retirement. It ‘s also where we often deal with value issues.

However there’s a major difference between tribes and businesses: presently employees are not considered equal participators in companies with senior management and investors. With Uranus in Aquarius until Dec 29, 2003, equality and democracy for everyone are top priorities. During this time, Uranus wants everyone to play by the same rules. With Neptune in Aquarius now through early Feb 2012, equality is also being pursued as an ideal. So having one set of rules for stockholders and top management, and a different set of rules for employees just doesn’t work anymore. The idea that “those with the gold make the rules” will be considered inadequate.

Instead employees are going to rediscover something that Adam Smith wrote a few hundred years ago in his book, The Wealth of Nations. Adam Smith was the first person to suggest that the true wealth of nations (and also true for companies), is not based on how much gold and silver is stored away, (or what’s in a company’s bank account and assets), but rather on the productivity of their people or workers. Basically money, gold and other financial assets cannot accomplish anything until they’re transformed by the energies, talents, and skills of employees into products or services.

Yet today, the short-term interests of top management and stockholders typically outrank the highest priority for long-term company interests. They also outrank the best interests of employees and workplace concerns. There’s been a common belief that employees can easily be replaced, while investors are hard to find. With Pluto in Sagittarius, this idea is going to be re-examined and found to be no longer true.

Higher skills, training, and more knowledge are needed by today’s workers in order to make companies productive and competitive. Whenever a company loses an employee, especially an educated or long-term worker, it takes considerable time for a new employee to replace those talents, skills and knowledge. In some cases, they’re never fully replaced.

In the future, and even now with our present, tight job market, it will become easier to replace the stockholder than the worker. Companies are only just now beginning to recognize this situation. Even when the economy slows down, this will still hold true, because there are fewer workers in the generation behind the baby boomers. It will no longer be acceptable for employees to be lowest on the company ladder. Employees must have equal status with top management and stockholders, because all three of these groups are equally vital to the success of companies.

How are these changes going to occur? First, many talented employees are going to leave and have recently left corporations to choose career paths that hold meaning for them. You may be among them! Second, labor unions will also continue to be revived and gain strength, just as we’ve seen in the past few years. Third, the generation of workers behind the baby boomers is a generation of social change agents. With Uranus and Pluto (the planets of revolution) together in Virgo (the sign of work), these people embody the ideals of the 1960s. They’re not interested in maintaining the status quo.

Together, with these fewer workers coming along behind the baby boomers, and the boomers starting to abandon their posts, companies will finally be forced to change in order to attract employees. Those companies that change first will have a competitive advantage. There are some companies that have already started down this path. Over time though, the ones that don’t change will have a survival issue!

Holy Cow! What’s Happening to Capitalism?

Let’s now turn our attention to some fundamental changes that are overdue to capitalism. This is bigger than any country’s economy. We tend not to think about capitalism, because it’s the business structure we swim in. Yet, the social attitudes and assumptions which underlie capitalism are being re-examined while Pluto is in Sagittarius from 1995 through November 2008.

Paul Hawkins and other people have already started this process. With Uranus and Neptune both in humanitarian Aquarius, environmental issues are now a major concern throughout the world. How are our environmental issues related to capitalism? Allow me to suggest they’re joined at the hip.

When capitalism started a few hundred years ago, there were very few people present, and an enormous amount of natural resources. Because there were so few people, and labor was the scarcest commodity, labor was taxed. On the other hand, because natural resources were so plentiful, and used at such a slow rate, they were considered to be completely renewable. For this reason natural resources were considered to be free and they never showed up on the accounting and balance sheets of businesses.

Today the exact opposite is true. We have an enormous population chasing very few natural resources. In fact there are so many people chasing the same natural resources, that they can no longer renew themselves fast enough. We’re depleting natural resources, and adding numerous species to the extinction list at a rapid rate. My second prediction is I expect the tax and accounting laws to change significantly over the next 15 years or more. Expect less tax on labor, to encourage more work, and many more taxes on the use of natural resources, since they are now scarce.

Here’s an example of how this might work. To print journals, magazines, newspapers, and books requires that we cut down trees, and then pollute the air and water to make paper. I predict that in the next ten to twenty years, there will be a tax for cutting down trees, and another tax for polluting the air and water to make the paper. These taxes will be added to the cost of paper and printing, but once we know what the true cost of the paper is, we’ll actually make better decisions.

Due to these changes, I expect that we will see more books, journals and magazines printed on recycled paper, as well as made available on CD ROM’s, or other technological innovations that we don’t yet have available at this time. Probably only the most significant books and magazines will actually be printed. Of course the price of printed materials will go up until adjustments in the use of our resources changes.

I don’t expect to see these tax changes implemented until after Pluto gets into Capricorn in late November 2008. Since it will be there for sixteen years (until late November 2024), these changes won’t happen overnight, but they will happen. There won’t be any other choice. With so few natural resources, we will have to start accounting for their value in some way and taxing their use. Now through 2008 with Pluto in Sagittarius, we’re paving the way to make these kind of changes by transforming our social values, assumptions, beliefs, and attitudes.

A New View of Time

Time is another area in which we tend to swim, so we don’t pay a lot of attention to it. There’s a myth that most of us have heard and believe. It’s the idea that all days are created equal. Every day when we get up, we have a blank slate that we can write on for what’s going to happen that day. If we just approach each day with the same positive attitude and the same positive thinking, we’ll always have good days. Our reality though is that we all have good days and bad days. And those of us who know astrology at all are aware that no two days have the same potential. NO two days are the same!

It takes more than a good attitude to be successful. It takes good timing as well. Because both Uranus and Neptune are now in Aquarius, we’re going to see all the metaphysical ideas, including astrology and the study of cycles, move toward the forefront of our culture. As this happens, people are going to realize there are good times, or as the Bible says, a time for every purpose under heaven.

We wouldn’t go out at midnight to get a tan, or plant our gardens outside in the dead of winter. That’s because these Sun cycles are so obvious to us. Yet there are other cycles which are equally important, but much less obvious. Once we learn about these cycles, we’re going to stop spitting into the cosmic wind and having it all come back to us.

I’m going to give you just one example of these cycles, which are not easily noticed, but there are several others as well. The cycle I’m going to tell you about is one that I call Cosmic Time-Outs. If you know astrology, you’ve also heard of them as Void of Course Moons. This is a period of time when the Moon has made its last major aspect to the other planets before it moves into the next sign. It’s basically a gestation period; the Moon is resting and the Universe wants us to do the same.

These periods occur two to four times per week, and they last anywhere from a few minutes to just over two days. They can occur any time of the day or night. The essential meaning of these periods is that nothing will come of it. When we try to push forward during these periods, we find that we meet very unexpected difficulties, we make false starts, waste resources, and usually we have to start over and remake our decisions again, after our efforts fail.

For example, an article was printed in the Wall Street Journal ten or eleven years ago about a research project that randomly selected 1400 businesses for an astrological review of their company charts. All of these businesses had one thing in common. They had all gone bankrupt! When astrologers reviewed these charts, it was determined that 100% of these businesses had started during a cosmic Time-Out period or a Void of Course Moon. Imagine avoiding major mistakes like this just by consulting an astrological calendar and using time correctly!

With Uranus and Neptune both in Aquarius now, metaphysical ideas are moving to the forefront. My third prediction is that many more businesses will discover cosmic Time-Outs and start to use these periods appropriately. When this happens, they’ll increase their productivity significantly and make much better use of their financial resources. For example, they’ll stop holding meetings during these time periods, especially meetings in which major decisions must be made, since literally nothing will come of the decision.

I have watched this cycle in large companies, when management made significant decisions during these periods. The result: we lost millions of dollars from those decisions. New products approved for development never made it to market. Manufacturing changes to existing products resulted in worldwide recalls. Imagine the trillions of dollars that must be lost worldwide every year from bad timing!

Companies will also stop making purchases during these periods, because they’re going to discover that quality, order accuracy, and delivery problems are associated with placing orders during Time – Out periods. They’ll also stop making new sales calls and scheduling promotions during these periods, because literally nothing will come of their efforts. They’ll stop signing contracts too, because the unexpected consequences will be so bad that they’ll learn not to do it. In general they’ll stop starting new things and making important decisions during Time-Outs.

Once we learn how to use these gestational periods as part of our creative process, we’ll increase our productivity significantly. We’ll allow ourselves the time to gestate our ideas long enough to birth them appropriately. We’ll use Time -Out periods to gather information, brainstorm, finish up things, and clean up. We’ll learn not to push forward constantly! Once we learn this lesson, we’ll become much more in harmony with the cycles of the Universe, face fewer frustrations, and waste far fewer resources. In the short run, the companies that use cycles will have a major competitive advantage.

In summary, I encourage you to watch for these major changes:

1) In the work place, employees will become equal to the status of top management and the stockholders, and companies will evolve into true tribal workplaces.

2) Capitalism will have a fundamental change with taxes on natural resources replacing taxes on labor and the cost of natural resources will be included on balance sheets.

3) We’ll learn to use cycles and develop a new perspective on the use of time.

I expect the New Millennium to be an amazing mixture of spiritual purpose, higher creativity, and learning to co-create with the Universe. The more our businesses and workplaces change to embody this, the more nourishment for life they’ll bring to us all!

© 2000, Madeline Gerwick, Polaris Business Guides, LLC All rights reserved.

Madeline Gerwick is a certified business and personal astrologer. Her background includes a BA degree with honors in economics, and over 15 years of industrial marketing and sales. She’s listed in several Who’s Who books, including Who’s Who in America, and produces The Good Timing Guide: Better Business Through Better Timing. She also co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astrology and The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Horoscopes, both available from Macmillan Publishing. Her astrology background includes over 20 years of study and practice.She can be reached by phone in Seattle, WA at 877-524-8300 , by email at