Monday, July 07, 2008

Recession Boxed Set

Like most of the world, I’ve been thinking about the prospect of a recession. I suppose having experiencing three recessions so far in my life (the early 80s, the Lawson boom-and-bust, and the dotcom crash) I’m pretty philosophical about the present economic meltdown.

That’s not to say I’m not feeling the pinch or oblivious to the possibility of joblessness. The rewards in advertising are reasonably high, but you’re always insecure during a downturn. Marketing budgets are always the first thing that businesses hack back. And copywriting is the first thing that’s lopped off project budgets as marketers think they can do it themselves.

What has struck me each time a recession has arrived is the speed with which things go sour. It’s always a matter of weeks between everything being cool, with a few clouds on the horizon, to full-blown economic typhoon.

I remember being made redundant during the dotcom crash – just before 9/11. It was scary – two kids, mortgage, no job. I had a surreal day watching the twin towers come down on live television from my sofa. My friend Louis (who had also been laid off) was watching it too and I remember us talking to each other on the phone as we took it all in on Sky News, stunned by what was going on. It felt like I was living in a Godzilla movie.

Of course, the dotcom crash was a localised storm in a sense. Sure, investors got their fingers burnt, but it wasn’t the huge global crisis that we’re experiencing now. 9/11 proved to have a more lasting impact. Possibly contributing to the economic problems we have now.

So, having lived through a few, recessions do not surprise me. They do however always seem to surprise governments and big business. Now as much as I’m unsurprised that another recession has arrived, I wouldn’t have predicted it. You would, however, expect a better performance from the super-intelligent policy wonks and economic analysts who control our lives. The majority of these masters of the universe seem to get caught up in their own hubris until it’s too late. Every single time an economic crisis hits. Now that really is fucking scary…

4 comments:

Jeremy said...

It is surprising how quickly people forget the bad once it is all over. I can remember the housing crisis in the early 90s in the UK, but when ever I warned people that it was likely to happen again in the near future people simply looked at my with disdain and told me that things were different this time.......

Tristan said...

Yep, know exactly what you mean. It's the fact that the self-delusion extends to people in charge of our pension fund billions that worries me...

bobthebuddha said...

what pension-fund billions?

Tristan said...

I meant collective billions - my pension fund adds up to about 7p...