To understand the future one has to have a thorough grasp of the past... here's quite a very valuable summary of recent economic history from Time editor Fareed Zakaria at IBM's THINK leadership forum.
In a way he makes the case for behavioral economics, by showing that the unknown factors of government and consumer behavior makes things rather unpredictable, or at least make outcomes of events (like the recent financial crisis) sometimes surprising.
But some trends are ineluctable. It is clear for instance that job recovery after an economic crisis is taking much longer than in the past (some 60 months predicted for the latest crisis). Innovation is key to respond to this challenge -innovation in a broad sense, as Fareed explains.