The Best Predictive Insights Come From… Walking through History

Harry Dent | Wednesday, January 2, 2013 >>

I love history. It was one of my favorite subjects in college.

After college I breezed through a 20 encyclopedia-like series called The History of Westernrn Civilization. It took me a few weeks. And I loved every minute of it.

Did I read the whole 10,000 page?

Of course not. I was young and hyper-motivated to make my mark on the world. But I did skim each page carefully. I noted the important changes in economic growth, the crashes and declines, the inflation and deflation over 5,000 years. Then I read those sections in great detail because that’s what really fascinates me.

It’s all about cycles.

Most people suggest I find a girlfriend when I start talking about cycles! But you know what? Everyone has their own genius and focus. Well… at least 95% of us do. The other 5% includes my wife’s worst relative.

And my brilliance lies in understanding the cycles of history, even beyond economics and demographics.

In turnrn, this gives YOU the power to be financially successful, to win in business and to invest smartly. I’ll explain…

Before I got into economic research in the 1980s, I traveled to Switzerland and Paris. During my trip, I visited the Louvre, but not for the same reason most people do. They go to see the art. Not me! I went to see history and cycles… how humanity progressed and then declined. How we moved from arrogance to humility to repentance.

I walked the entire Louvre, in its marvelous historical order, in one day.

And if I had to do it again today, with the economic research I’ve done since then, I could show you the key turnrning points in economic and human history simply by how light or dark the paintings are or how indulgent or repentant the people are. It is crystal clear to me.

It is simply the natural cycles of history.


Travel into the Past for a Brighter Future

Since my trip to the Louvre, travel and history have become synonymous to me. And my passion for both remains as intense.

I don’t typically go to major cities like New York or San Francisco, London or Tokyo. No. I want to see the more remote area of the world. That’s where I can see the past living now!

In the rural areas of Indonesia or India you see people living with no electricity, no cars. They live in simple huts or lean-to’s. They have a few goats for milk, a wood clay oven on the floor to cook on, a few oxen to plow the fields. And they have a strong religious culture. No one is overweight because they must walk everywhere for everything they need.

This is how life was around the world a few centuries ago, even thousands of years in some areas.

And the most surprising thing is that most of these people are happier than us rich Westernrners because they live such a simple life. It involves a lot of hard work, but complications and drama don’t have much room in their world.

Each one of these rural areas is like living history.

Some more remote tribes in Papua New Guinea (which I’m dying to visit) represent life in the hunting and gathering era that existed largely before the Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago. The Eskimo and Inuit Indian cultures in Alaska live much like people did when the Americas were first populated 14,000 years ago or so.

Travel IS history to me. It gives me broader insights into all the various cultures and how we are similar and different to them. Most importantly, it gives me a clear window into the stages of life that cultures and civilizations undergo as they develop and progress.

Knowing this I can forecast with uncanny accuracy where a state, town or even country will head next as such stages occur in a natural progression. Whether it faces a boom or a bust ahead. What the citizens will spend their money on and when.

Ultimately, each trip I make and the more history I learnrn, the more I understand and can predict the four-stage life cycle of everything from economics to business to personal life.

Anyone doing business in, or investing overseas, needs to understand the history and the differences in cultures. That’s even true for those in different regions of the U.S. from Seattle, Washington to Jackson, Mississippi.

And there is no better way than going there yourself. Seeing and experiencing it directly, and like Anthony Bourdain on the TV show “No Reservations,” at the most basic levels possible.

I intend to continue doing so myself. And I’ll report back regularly on the latest insights I’ve gleamed. It’s with these and our continued economic and demographic research that’ll we’ll turnrn 2013 into a very profitable year… no matter what happens.




Ahead of the Curve with Adam O’Dell

A Trip Around the World

Keeping with the theme of world travel, let’s look at how the global equity markets fared in 2012.



Harry Dent

Bestselling author and founder of Dent Research, an affiliate of Charles Street Research. Dent developed a radical new approach to forecasting the economy; one that revolved around demographics and innovation cycles.