Monday, March 16, 2009

What I've learned during recessions

During my adult life I've lived through 5 recessions, each with a new foot print as to the cause of the economy going south. In 1973, it was OPEC jacking up the price of oil, causing long lines at gas stations and driving up the cost of everything. I remember the meat section of the grocery stores being empty. I recall pushing my car in gas lines that would take 2 hours of waiting to get only 5 gallons of gas.

In 1979, the Carter administration allowed the Iranian government to be taken over by a radical Muslim group, followed by the hostage situation and then by Iran's inconsistent oil production causing shortages and higher oil prices. To combat the inflationary effect, interest rates were jacked-up to levels never since in that century nor ever seen since that time. This caused what was coined as stag-flation, and we're still feeling the affects of Iran Carter's decision today.

Late 80’s and early 90’s, the housing market combined with savings and loan debacle and the Bush I tax increases led to the weakening of the economy which caused a trickle down into many other industries.

In 2000, the bursting of the dot-com bubble combined with Enron and the accounting practices caused the economy to sputter. For me this was the first time I started to see the corproate corruption in sizes no one could imagine.

Now in 2008, we're faced with a recession of greed. Greed not only at the corporate level, but greed at the individual level. This greed has led to liquidity issues and bank failures and bank bail-outs along with rediculous governmentspending program that will kill the economy more. Many want to blame the housing market collapse, but it is much deeper than that. Greed combined with a society that has no sense of responsibility and a sense of entitlement is the underlining cause. When people can walk away with no obligation, it is easy to take risks. when the government will bail you out when billions are lost, yet when billions are being made the employees are raping the company for their bad decision nonetheless!

in any case, each recession had a different causes; but nevertheless the results were devastating to so many people yet from the flames of each recession arose some great companies.

In the late 70’s Apple Computer and Microsoft were born creating a new world of business and entertainment. In the late 80’s AOL, Amgen, and Cisco and many others started gaining stardom and size creating new industries and employing millions.

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s the internet behemoths of Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and E-Bay were hatched into, creating a new industry that we’re just beginning to completely understand and use.

And here we are today, in the mists of another recession and when many are wondering who will survive, I’m wondering who will be born to create a new and exciting new industry? Who will create millions of new jobs in our new world?

Recessions force people to do things they’ve always wanted to do but they were too comfortable in the their high paying corporate jobs to take risk. Now that they are out of work and looking for income, they start to think, create and build. How exciting is that!

This isn't something you'll read in the press!


Rodger Gibson said...

Although some of us spring chicks may not be old enough to remember all of these recessions first hand, (o.k. Mel, I remember them all too), They all bare the same roots of greed and selfishness. With that in mind, it's easy to see this roller coaster affect will continue for generations, without, or as I see it, until divine intervention. As Mel states, it IS exciting to think of the new ideas that always seem to spring up from these situations. What a perfect time, on the St. Patrick's day, to remember the age old Irish proverb, "necessity is the mother of invention".

It also brings to mind something I read, "If necessity is the mother of invention, calamity is not uncommonly the source of legislation.
[2001 Washington Post]

Keep your seats in the upright and locked position, and hold on.... With our current administration, who knows where we are headed!

Mel Jones said...


To your last comment. We know where we're headed, unforntuately.