Thursday, January 22, 2009

The End Will Come

With some luck, the end will be a good thing. The end I am referring to, of course, is the end of the economic situation terrorizing just about everyone around the planet. Day after day, people by the thousands and tens-of-thousands are losing their jobs and I don't know very many people who feel absolutely safe and secure that their job will be around in 52 days or 52 weeks. Psychologically, it is a very damaging time and at this moment, from this vantage point, the bottom seems nowhere close. Banks continue to take billion dollar write downs every single quarter and typically impenetrable companies like Sony are expecting losses in the low billions. This is the first major recession of which I have been professionally aware. The last major recession, the dot-com situation, happened in the early 2Ks and I was safe and sound as a student not particularly caring about much beyond whether or not the Bursley cafeteria would be serving Broccoli and Cheddar Soup for dinner. That soup was the best - like injecting a salt solution directly into my bloodstream. The next most recent recession took place from 1990-1991 when I was 9, so it did not matter to me all that much as long as I could still watch You Can't Do That on Television.

After these difficult times, the U.S. always pulled itself out of the hole and found the way back to growth and prosperity. This growth was typically fueled by bubbles of various types (except for the best bubble of all, that formed by gum) which often led to bigger and better problems down the road, but for at least some period of time, the upside seemed limitless and the future was profitable. Because I was unaware or didn't care about the recessions, I was unaware of the recoveries. They tell me on TV and the internet that we always come back and there is nothing more resilient than the American economy, but it's hard to believe when I've never truly lived through one of these terrible things before. They also say that when the bottom seems unreachable, you're getting close to finding it. Every day seems just a little bit worse than the last, with continuing stock market drops, layoffs, and corporate catastrophe of some form or another. These times are hard and scary for everyone, but I present the argument that they might be most difficult for people of my generation acutely feeling the difficulties for the first time in their lives, with no personally-experienced evidence that things will turn around. They tell me to hold on and things will get better, and I choose to believe them because the alternative is worse than forgetting to TiVo the season premiere of Lost.


AlexJD said...

i really hope you did not miss the season premiere of Lost. that would have been awful.

Elizabeth said...

You don't think our generation has experience with the sting of recession? How about emotional and creative recession with the cancellation of "You Can't Do That On Television". But America bounced back with "Clarissa Explains it All"

And don't say "I don't know" because then you know what'll happen....

oh shit.