Downturn, recession, depression and the end of the world as we know it?
As usual hindsight is 20/20 but few saw the crisis coming. Laurence Ball, an economist at Johns Hopkins “Nobody ever sees anything coming,” he says. “Nobody saw stagflation coming, nobody saw the Great Depression coming, nobody saw Pearl Harbor or 9/11 coming. Really big, bad things tend to be surprises.”
One prescient exception is New Zealand economic editor and commentator Neville Bennett: “The yield curve is rather flat and appears to be flattening … Every recession has been preceded by a flat curve. There is a massive credit crunch taking place.” NBR June 2, 2006.
Another is the two British comedians, with their spoof but spookily prophetic TV interview in 2007 http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/187.html
To navigate our way through the maelstrom we need to adopt a default setting somewhere between the doom and gloom of Chicken Little and the opaque optimism of Pollyanna. We do have to admire this attitude at http://www.lighthouseillumination.com/ Business As Usual. We wish to advise that due to prior commitments we are unable to participate in the current recession.
However if we are to find a way through, positive affirmations are necessary but not sufficient. A decade ago Victor Navone made his first animated short video Alien Song www.navone.org . The chantreuse, a cross between Diana Ross and a Venusian migrant, finds that chanting “I will survive!” is sadly not enough to escape the plummetting disco ball if you are standing under it on the dance floor of life.
As the economic climate rapidly cools, it’s an ill perfect storm that blows nobody any good. The volatile swings of the financial system and the reciprocal economic gyrations are playing out against a background of quantum leaps in science and technology. New technology itself is disruptive, but it also contains the seeds of new ways of working, living and being.
It’s a biological commonplace that those organisms which best adapt survive longest. Obama’s bailing out of the behemoths in the United States does appear to be dancing dangerously with dinosaurs. Monsters are much more immediately visible than evolving new life forms but is the latter which carry the seeds of the future by being smarter and more agile in the way they organise their genetic material to respond to radical environmental change.
A recent apocalyptic (and dyslexic) commentator traversed what he thought would be the fate of “The Untied States and Untied Kingdom” as a result of the present crisis. Apart from other portents, this slip could prove prophetic. Wasn’t it WB Yeats who said between the two World Wars? “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold…..”