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So are you ready? Bags packed? Mind in the right place? While this chunky issue of monocle sits proudly on newsstands around the world and drops on the doormats of our loyal subscribers from São Paulo to Sydney, the world will bid farewell to 2013 and head off into 2014 for a fresh adventure. So it’s time to get thinking; to contemplate what lurks just over the horizon. It’s time to be prepared.

Since we launched in 2007 we have always used this December/January issue as a forecast special. True, over the years it has also become the home of our Soft Power Survey, the Monocle 100 and our Travel Top 50, but the crystal ball has never been far away. And this year the forecast theme pops up all over the issue, like an inquisitive seal appearing from the waves of current affairs and the jostling tides of business, culture and design.

In the Affairs pages you’ll get to meet a whole delegation of presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and luminaries who turn their attentions to the big topics of the year to come.

Migration is one common thread and the Swedish PM explains why he believes it is the moral thing to take in people looking for a new start (and also imperative if his country wants to continue to prosper). And Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop tells us why her nation’s reputation as unwelcoming to new arrivals is misplaced.

In the Affairs pages we also go to Romania. Again the theme is migration. In 2014 Romanians will be able to travel anywhere in the EU for work and there are fears being stoked that everyone will move west. But monocle found a more nuanced story when we took to the streets of Bucharest. Things may be tough but there’s a young generation determined to fix their country and who have no intention of fleeing.

In our Business pages, senior editor Sophie Grove has had her binoculars focused on several intriguing stories for 2014. She has commissioned a series of reports on factories that are good for the people who work in them (it really is time that we faced up to the hardships that fast fashion and the like force onto the world’s least-protected workers). And there’s also a look at how some emerging economies are finding pleasure, profit and national pride in old skills from mezcal making to batik production.

Our Culture editor Robert Bound meets the gallerists betting on Latin America as the new art makers and market, and a group of surfers who have founded a successful media company that makes the most of the world of print. In Design we talk to the new ceo of Artek in Finland, who says the nation got lazy and people need to raise their game in 2014; and in Edits we tell a happier story about the future of Portugal on the retail front.

We have also marshalled key voices for a series of essays on everything from Japan’s place in the world to US absenteeism on the global stage.

As always monocle believes in being engaged and not retreating from the world. We know there are some difficulties out there but also plenty of opportunities and we hope our forecast issue will leave you informed and intrigued about what lies ahead.

More 2014 trends

  1. Watch out for the continued revival of rail. Trains are a nimble and affordable way of moving goods surprisingly quickly over very long distances. Head to page 149 to discover why the Turks for one are investing in fast-track solutions.
  2. The return to real luxury. We have often been suspicious of companies that seemed to have bet their future on selling luxury lite to China. Have a read of our interview on page 193 with Diego Della Valle, the head of Tod’s, who says that whether you are a customer in Beijing or Milan you are no longer willing to be given fashion that’s not based on craft and customer care.

  3. In the West we need more people to help us care for our elderly and in Germany they have come up with a plan: teach eager Vietnamese carers to speak German so that they can come to Europe and easily integrate. It’s a model others are sure to follow. Turn to page 89 to learn more.

  4. Have a good skyline. City planners make some bad decisions but luckily there are architects and civic leaders who do get the vision thing. And on page 198 we tell you who they are and what they’ll be erecting in 2014.

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