Watching events unfold in North Africa and the Middle East, you might think the uprisings there -- aimed at toppling corrupt regimes -- will peter out once democracy takes hold. But political prognosticator Gerald Celente says you're dead wrong.

The founder and publisher of the New York -based Trends Journal believes that way of thinking is so misguided, in fact, anyone who thinks that way won't see what's really coming next.

Celente, who makes a living with his forecasts of where the world is heading, trumpets the success of his predictions on everything from the brewing popularity of gourmet coffee in 1988 to this century's "Great Recession" in 2004.

More recently, Celente says he warned of the current spread of youth-inspired uprisings long before anyone else.

"We had forecast that there would be a wave of protests raging throughout the world in response to three elements: high unemployment, draconian austerity measures and corruption," Celente explains in a telephone interview.

"What you're seeing in North Africa and the Middle East is the same three elements," he insists. "It has nothing to do with autocracy or democracy."

Instead, Celente says anyone who sees the world as he does will recognize that there's actually a form of neo-feudalism at work, pitting oppressed "peasants" against a rich ruling class unwilling to share the wealth.

"You have people between the ages of 18 and 30, their hormones are raging, and they're raging mad. You've got no limits at that age, you're not afraid of anything and you have nothing to lose," he says. "The difference is, these peasants are educated, they know the deal."

'Europe is next' 

In an energetic, if somewhat rambling conversation with, Celente explains that the recent conflicts in Tunisia and beyond are more about young people confronting their bleak economic future than it is about a push for elected representation.

"If people are fat and happy they could care less if Mickey Mouse is ruling them," he says.  But given the state of the world economy, that doesn't seem an imminent prospect.

"Europe is next," Celente continued, explaining that in his view the uprisings in North Africa and the Mideast were not triggered by events in Tunisia. Instead, he believes they're the inevitable result of political, social and economic conditions shared by a vast, growing array of countries including, but not limited to Albania, Croatia, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Soaring unemployment, cuts to pensions and benefits, rising fees for diminishing services, across-the-board value-added tax increases and declining minimum wages are all common factors to some degree, he says. Combine those with the numbers of young people who are still living with their parents, struggling to find work and not seeing much hope for the future, and Celente says you've got some powerful reasons to not only get angry over the growing gap between rich and poor, but to do something about it.

The inevitable result will be "the next great war of the 21st century," he says, offering a favourite maxim: "When the money stops flowing to Main Street, the money starts flowing on the streets."

Fascist America

So, how can the world be spared from its apparently bloody destiny?

According to Celente, certainly not in any of the ways governments have tried so far. To start, he says we have to abandon the concept that some businesses are "too-big-to-fail." Recalling the powerful robber barons of 19th century America, for example, he says the same dynamic is at work today. The difference now is, they are no longer the subject of public derision.

"Now people bow down, suck up and congratulate them on how wonderful they are," Celente scoffs, insisting that's the wrong attitude.

"We have to tax the multi-billonaires, we have to stop all of these tax rip-offs of the multinationals, and go back to when it worked better."

According to Celente, that means reinstituting laws that curb banks' abilities "to become like casinos," and generally reverting to the state of affairs before NAFTA.

"It's not free trade. It's manufacturers going to slave labour countries, getting their products made, and shipping them back at a mark-up. Let's call it what it is."

Celente offers a similarly stark view of the steps taken by world leaders to curb the recent global economic slowdown. Rather than fix the world's financial problems, Celente says policies of tax cuts, austerity measures and stimulus spending have instead served to reinflate economic bubbles that are near-bursting.

"This is not capitalism. The merger of state and corporate powers by definition -- from someone who knew a thing or two about it: Mussolini -- is facism," Celente asserts. "And fascism has come to America."

With the world headed towards a great war, and citizens of the western world living under fascism, you might think there's cause for panic. But Celente says the panic hasn't taken hold because, for most people, the facts aren't clear.

"You think they'd care about Libya if it was the Ivory Coast?," Celente asks, suggesting that the public is being misled in terms of what's really at stake. "Do you think the United States would be in Iraq if the major export was broccoli?"

Money is the prime motivator, Celente says, not freedom and liberty. "The people can't see it because they're getting misinformation, because they get caught up in the ideology of it."

War at your door?

The thought of a popular uprising erupting close to home is not totally out of the question, however, especally in light of the 70,000 who recently marched against Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker's bill aimed at stripping public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

Despite Walker's insistence the move would help slash his state's projected US$3.6-billion deficit, the proposed law raised the ire of union supporters across the U.S. who, in a sign of growing discontent among the working class, rallied in several cities including Los Angeles; Topeka, Kansas; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Olympia, Washington and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Indeed, Celente believes the violence will inevitably spread to our shores, as many of the same conditions are at play here in Canada and the United States -- except one.

"The people here don't have the fighting zeal. The young people here are more than mommies' boys -- they're soccer mommies' boys," he said, suggesting that should at least forestall such uprisings on our shores anytime soon.