What to expect in 2018

What to expect in 2018

2017 was eventful to say the least, so what's on our radar this year?

The hangover’s finally clearing, the Christmas bloat has started to subside, resolutions have come and erm, gone. It’s 2018 everyone, we made it!

In 2017 we had Trump “putting America first”, we had Brexit (or more of it), we had elections in what feels like every damn country of the world, there was Uber’s apparent fall from grace, the women’s march, #metoo, and fights over equal pay. It was exhausting.

But now it’s time to look ahead: we’re not normally ones to make predictions ‘cos let’s face it, they’re pretty much always wrong. But here are some things to look out for.

It’s probably very likely people will still be talking about Brexit...all year long

Flags Brexit

But no Brexiting will actually be done… oh no, that’s next year. This year’s for more agonising, more negotiations and more arguing about whether or not the whole thing should just be called off (and not that much more communication about it).

Look out for conversations about trade agreements – in the first couple of days of Jan, for example, there were already stories about the UK joining something called the Trans Pacific Partnership, which would improve its trading links with non-EU countries.

We also now know EU citizens currently living in the UK will be able to stay, keep their jobs and still access benefits, and vice versa.

We've got loads of stuff about Brexit on our website, read it, it's good

Donald Trump will face his first big test

Trump's first test

In the final gasps of 2017, Trump got closer to his first major law-change: a pretty massive overhaul of the tax system. Taxes have been cut for all Americans, with the richest getting the biggest tax cut. He’s also cut the corporation tax rate, which means businesses pay less. He promised he’d do it in his election campaign, and that by cutting taxes for businesses (and rich people) he’d encourage jobs, wage growth, etc.

Standing by election promises is normally a big tick for voters, but the vast majority of economists looking on are saying this is going to hit poor people the hardest. And at Trump's holiday resort, he reportedly told his friends this was going to make them a lot richer.

In November this year Trump will face his first big test, the mid-term elections. His tax policy is pretty unpopular with the general US public (55 per cent of people disapprove of it, only 33 per cent approve) so the public could hit back at him come election day.

All eyes will be on this thing people call growth

Well, probably not all eyes, but quite a few. Each year economists predict how fast an economy is going to – as in, how many more goods and services it’s going to produce. It’s this magic number that people use as an indicator for how healthy a country’s economy is. The established wisdom is that if that number’s big, the country’s in good health.

In the UK, economists have predicted that growth isn’t going to slow down as much as they feared. It’s still going to grow. The problem is, some people think we need to flip the way we think about growth on its head: we’ve already grown too much, and we’re running out of resources to grow from.

Companies will have to report their pay gap

Gender pay gap demonstration
A gender pay gap protest in London in 2017

In the UK voluntary, private and public sector employers (basically, most employers) with 250 or more employees will be required to publish details of how big the pay gap between men and women is in April this year.

The idea is that by encouraging employers to take a close look at how much male and female employees are earning in their businesses, they’ll be encouraged to act to make sure things are fair. Big pay gap = bad PR.

Iceland’s gone one step further, at the beginning of January it passed a law that makes it illegal for companies of over 25 people to pay men and women differently. They'll have to get a government certificate assuring pay equality otherwise they’ll face a fine.

So these robots... they coming, or..?

Robots are coming?

Robots are coming to take our jobs, apparently. Or, at the very least to help us perform very basic, but actually completely pointless tasks at home (wake me up when Alexa can clean the hair out my shower). But things that seemed ridiculously futuristic less than a decade ago are now almost a reality. Driverless cars are on their way, this year we might see driverless Domino deliveries and Ocado’s trialled its own driverless delivery service.

People will still be making zillions, or losing zillions, on Bitcoin

‘How do I buy Bitcoin?’ was apparently one of the most googled terms of 2017. And it’s no wonder – the end of 2017 saw the price of those little non-existent coins rocket (to borrow a favourite financial press cliche). In 2010, a developer bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins. In November 2017, they’d have been worth $100 million. But move over Bitcoin, 2018 is going to be all about other crypto-currencies, apparently.

Bitcoin rollercoaster gif

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