Note: Since I am in no way any kind of economist my perspective is that of a layman.
It seems to me that economists and some people are almost resigned to accepting that a double dip recession is likely if not already on the way. I liked it much better when a ‘double dip’ conjured up images of gooey chocolate covering on vanilla ice cream cones at Dairy Queen. The question I have is, are people wishing this to happen?
The thing about negative news and information is that people seem to pile on and at times almost revel in what I call the ‘Eeyore’ syndrome (my apologies to A.E. Milne and the aforementioned character who could find that black cloud on even the sunniest of days). To me it’s possible this might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Economists try to predict trends all the time in some sort of bizarre contest of ‘I was right – first’. There is no real penalty for being wrong. The more outlandish the prediction the more attention it gets. If that outlandish prediction actually turns out to be correct then years from when it was made the predictor can smugly say ‘I got it right – and I was first’. Oh boy. What a big help, thanks.
I don’t pretend to be that naïve, nor am I attempting to whistle through the graveyard (although the current economic climate has that appearance at times). Things remain tough for many Americans, and for so many people in the world economy. The economic fixes proposed by the current administration while well-intentioned, seem indecisive and they appear to be uncertain on what to do next. Nobody said fixing a broken American economy was going to be easy.
And that’s the point isn’t it? When the ‘Great Recession’ began sometime in 2008 (or 2007 depending on who is talking), the economic experts did not see it right away (they actually called the time of the beginning recession in late 2009 – isn’t hindsight great?), and when they did see it we were told it was going to be a long, hard, road to recovery.
We’ve been on that road for quite some time. Yet people act surprised that it is taking so long. Workers need to be retrained in the new economy and associated technologies. People over 55 are more than a little aggravated (o.k. pissed off) hat thoughts of retirement at 65 – something they have been thinking about for more than 30 years, is out the window.
This retraining takes time and it is happening right now. But is it possible that maintaining a positive attitude is such a bad thing? One of my favorite days of the year is the winter solstice which in the northern hemisphere is the shortest day of the year. Why? Every day after that the sun stays up just a bit longer – all the way until June and our reward is summer.
The American and world economy will eventually improve – hopefully sooner than later. But if you want to wish for a double dip I suggest heading to your favorite ice cream store.
Am I crazy to think that people’s attitude can shape an economic climate?