Neither do I. Our wealth may have creeped down, but the quality of life remained roughly the same, partially due to the relentless forward march of technology.
Anywho, why did I say we will not enter a depression or recession this year?
Because we're already in one.
Check out the global GDP per capita for 2014 and 2015.
This was caused by the Great Oil Crash of 2015. Petrostates and states that rely heavily on oil wound up taking it up the ass last year and this year. However, the reason why this didn't cause a massive financial collapse (despite what the financial blogs kept harping on about) was because, as I predicted for 2016, we'd see a global recession marked by great upheaval— but it would be a bizarrely lopsided recession. Chances are, a harder collapse is coming in the next few years, but the oil collapse is one of those things that led me to believe we won't suffer a catastrophic, existential-crisis tier financial collapse that we see in the likes of cyberpunk fiction. If that were the case, we should be seeing oil prices in the other direction. Oil should be $500+ a barrel, not $50 and threatening to fall into the $20s at any moment. It's basically a massive face-heel turn bait and switch for cyberpunk dystopian fiction, which is always predicated upon the idea that the GFC would either be caused or enhanced by oil prices shooting into the exosphere. And like I said: while I do believe a big crash is about to happen within the next 5 years, I don't believe it's the Great Depression 2.0 or the Reaper of Western Civilization, with the first bit of evidence being the weakened state of the oil industry. A great collapse can happen for a variety of reasons, but almost all of them stem back to the price of oil. It's oil that fuels our civilization. Even if a super Depression struck us, if the price of oil remained stable, we'd just wind up getting back up and going back to work within 5 years.
If oil was that expensive (and we lack any alternatives to an oil-centric economy, which would happen regardless of if electric vehicles are widespread or not), we would no longer be able to support things like supermarkets, fast food chains, restaurants, air travel, ocean travel, space exploration, and much, much more. We vastly underestimate how much of our civilization is reliant upon oil, as we tend to think oil = fuel. In reality, just about anything involving carbon products you can think of (including graphene!) would receive a big fat K.O. if oil prices suddenly shot up by an order or two of magnitude, and our civilization would simply cease functioning.
Freighter trucks would not be able to travel, as gas prices would be exorbitant. Same deal with planes and trains. Thus, our globalized economy would grind to a halt due to how expensive everything would be. Food prices would then increase, perhaps by up to 1,000%. Wages would enter freefall since businesses have to cut any and all expenses. More and more of our increasingly reduced paychecks would be dedicated to the bare essentials.
Transportation would cease to exist as a 'thing'. Remember how cars need oil changes? Now oil's so expensive that the price of an oil change nearly exceeds that of a car. Cars become thrice as expensive, and gas is out of here. People won't be able to afford to get around anymore. So even if supermarkets, restaurants, tourist traps, etc. managed to survive the initial apocalypse, they'd quickly die off due to a lack of business. Cities would collapse once cars can no longer go far enough without bankrupting their owners. We might even return to a more suburban sustenance-based lifestyle.
There goes Walmart. There goes K-Mart. There goes Macy's. There goes all the restaurant chains. There goes all the fast food places. As much as we demonize these big chains, they also provide millions of jobs.
The price of space flight would increase exponentially due to oil's many uses for almost everything involving the materials needed to actually build space craft. NASA would no longer be able to afford a single failure. No one would. Least of all SpaceX. It seems that for every 5 or 6 successful flights, they have one failure. If oil became superexpensive (to GFC levels), that one failure would bankrupt SpaceX. Possibly several times over.
With high oil prices comes vastly reduced demand for things, ironically meaning the industry actually collapses thrice as hard as it does in our timeline. What does that mean?
Petrostates? Gone. Saudi Arabia? Kuwait? Iran? Canada? Russia? Venezuela? Welcome to the Thunderdome. Prepare to rediscover the "wonders" of violet nomadic gangs and repressive warlords fighting for scraps. In Russia's case— holy shit. Because if the Russian government were to fall due to an oil-sparked GFC and warlords fought for control, they'd also gain control of Russia's many thousands of nukes. That would be good for no one at all. Russia already took a bad hit from the oil price collapse, to the point they've been in a sanction-enhanced recession for two years now, a recession they're only just beginning to crawl out of. If the oil industry imploded completely due to this Burn-Hot-Burn-Out scenario, Russia as a nation is done for. And Saudi Arabia takes it up the ass even worse, because as I've been saying for years now— the government is the one that's progressive, believe it or not. Much of Saudi Arabia's population thinks the government is actually too progressive and that they need to come down hard on heretics, degenerates, and the like. Ultraconservative Wahhabists in the Middle East make ultraconservative Protestants in the US look like tolerant liberals, as we've seen with ISIS. Do you really want them gaining control over such a large territory?
That's what would happen if oil prices reached $500 or, heaven forbid, $1,000 a barrel. That is a collapse.
But right now? Oil prices are hovering around $50. They've gotten back up from their previous lows in the 20's, but everyone's expecting them to fall back into the $40 or even $30 range just in time for Christmas. What's more, the oil shock spooked many of these aforementioned petrostates into diversifying their portfolios. Yes, even Saudi fucking Arabia, whose whole nation is supposed to be one giant oil corporation. This "Invisible Recession" of 2015-2016 may have wound up preventing a greater financial calamity precisely because of these effects. Also, there's no one "good" option with oil being too high or too low, after all. If oil prices are too high, oil companies get rich and fat— but that also spurs green investment and they get less business from petroleum. If oil prices are too low, they net far fewer profits (to the point many companies go bankrupt) but they also get much more business. Oil being around $60-$80 a barrel would be the best for that industry, but no one knows if it'll be able to climb back up there.
The oil collapse wound up doing something that seems the antithesis to a total collapse as well— it's leading to one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history. Trillions of dollars are flowing right back into the hands of the working/middle classes due to all that money we're saving from low oil prices. The drawback being, these trillions of dollars are going into the hands of the working/middle classes only in some places. Primarily those places that aren't dependent upon the oil industry. For example— cities are booming. Businesses are seeing more sales. Truck drivers are getting bonuses. More people are flying. We have more money to spend.
Where oil is the region's lifeblood, however, you're seeing Great Recession-level discontent and upheaval. Look at Alberta, Canada, or to Texas, USA. Look at Venezuela, which has become a dystopian, neo-Eastern Bloc hellhole. That's where there is a Great Depression going on. Russia is where we're seeing a Great Recession. Need I even say anything about the Middle East? Hence why I called it a "lopsided recession."
So yes, that's my dissertation about why we're not going to see a new Great Depression this year. Oil is far too cheap for there to be a collapse. The petrocrats did it to themselves.
I mentioned that the oiligarchs would either deny that the end is nigh or try to get their cronies to convince us that this is actually a bad thing. Hence why you kept seeing articles proclaiming that "Cheap Oil Will Doom Us All". That's because they want oil prices to reach $500 a barrel. Damn the world, as long as it means they get to become trillionaires for a brief period of time. But it's just not happening.