I despair when I hear politicians talk about ‘the economic recovery’, as if there is some point in the future when all this ghastliness will be over and we can all go back to the good old days of having lots of money to spend on whatever we liked.
We realise now that those ‘good old days’ were funded by one thing. Credit (or should that always have been more accurately be described as DEBT?) which we now discover was based on no underlying value.
Which in turn is why no one can answer the question ‘Where is all the money coming from for all these continued banking bailouts?’
The problem with times like these is that fear slows down the flow of money. After all, the word ‘currency’ means ‘to flow’. It’s like a giant game of musical chairs where no one quite wants to leave their seat and nervously hovers close to the chairs instead of merrily dancing round the room to the music. No one wants to be the one left without a seat.
I was at a women’s event some years ago where I witnessed the same £10 note merrily trip around the room. The first person bought a music CD from a lady at a stand, who then bought her neighbour’s aromatherapy oil, who then passed it on to the event organiser as payment for lunch on the day, who then passed it on to another lady as payment for another event she was hosting. Same £10 note, but within 5 minutes £40 worth of value was happily exchanged.
And here’s where the problem lies. There’s a limit to those underlying resources; the world is running out of ‘stuff’ to form the basis of the continued exchange in value.
The oil is running out, the oceans are emptying, there isn’t enough food for the entire population. Even clean water is becoming scarcer.
The financial meltdown we are currently experiencing is actually a rather neat way of strangulating rampant consumerism and consumption – at least in the West.
And if the West was the alcoholic, the East was the distillery – because it now has fewer and fewer people to supply to.
What all this means is that if your business is based on tangible products you will find it increasingly tougher to survive over the coming years.
But the bigger worry underlying all of the above is people’s increasing anger about the way it has all been so badly mis-managed by the very people we have trusted to manage what goes on. Our Governments. It’s this building pressure-cooker of emotion, combined with the power of the internet for people to communicate and assemble that is the biggest concern. It’s why the Government has just made legal its ability to monitor all electronic communication.
Yet there is a limit to how effective our ‘Command and Control’ culture can be.
And as I sit and watch my 5 young boys consume media like ‘Last Day of the Dinosaurs’ (which describes in detail how the majority of the race was wiped out by an asteroid and the means by which the few survived), films like ‘Terminator’, ‘MadMax’ and ‘iRobot’, and watch them playing war games on their Playstation/XBoxes, I can’t help wondering if they are already in training for some kind of gruesome future.