Is There Any Room For Economic Optimism?
|August 12, 2009||Posted by Roshawn Watson under Uncategorized||
It is well-known that media often focuses on doom and gloom. For example, hundreds of airplanes land safely everyday and will never garner any media attention (unless the landing is miraculous); however, the one that crashes will be plastered on news across the country. Perhaps it is just human nature to gravitate towards the sensational. By far, fixing our current economic woes is a top priority for many Americans, so the fact that US economic hardships is getting tons of media attention is not wholly unexpected. However, a recent sobering and fear-inducing article by Forbes columnist Tom Riper might have pushed the limits with respect to responsible reporting.
Image Credit: jfsl3
In Where You Won’t Shop in 2009, Tom not only highlights that some retail stores that have already announced that they are closing doors in 2009 (i.e. Circuit City and Sharper Image), but he makes a series of fatal predictions for several other beloved American brands (i.e. Starbucks and Gap). These predictions are based on interviews with some industry experts and surveys. For example, normally just 4 percent of women would not plan to buy any clothes in a given year, but nearly one-third of women plan no clothing purchases in 2009.
The article reads “while industry executives and shoppers will remember 2008 as the year the party ended, figure 2009 to be the year of the hangover.”
Although it is true for some of these companies, he is just stating the obvious, I seriously doubt all of these companies will close doors completely in 2009, yet that’s what the title of this article would suggest. Of course putting on rose colored glasses and being blissfully ignorant is not the answer. Blind optimism helped get us into this mess, but optimism tempered with a dose of reality is what’s needed in these times.
It would be more precise, although less attention-grabbing, to merely state the truth: these companies have some real challenges ahead in this coming year.
Entrepreneurship Less Desirable
It is likely that the economic uncertainty is causing a decline in interest in entrepreneurship as a career amongst high-school students and others. With business closures (and potential closures) receiving so much media attention, being in business for oneself seems remarkably more risky now than during the last few decades. Still, these risks alone should not dissuade those who are passionate about entrepreneurship. For example, the following is a list of 14 big businesses that started during a recession. Notice that none of these are on Mr. R.I.P.er’s list. It is possible to have phenomenal success in business if you act smartly, even in today’s economic climate. This message of hope is often neglected by today’s media.
Funny Quote From Article
Perhaps the most comical quote in the post was “people are so scared they are starting to save.” It’s as if he is almost saying “surely, it has not come to this, people are actually saving… gasp.” The truth is he is right! Whereas the United States has historically had a negative savings rate, the Federal Reserves reported a positive savings rate and a decline in debt during the 3rd quarter of 2008, and some experts believe our saving rate may increase to 6 to 10% in 2009. Personally, I think consumers being fiscally responsible is a good thing. Individuals who appropriately manage their monies typically end up investing and spending, both of which are great for the economy long-term.
In summation, media outlets produce sensational stories to get readers (or viewers), for which advertisers will pay big bucks, but such reporting can be demotivating and even irresponsible in some cases. It’s up to us to decide the true motives behind such one-sided reporting and whether this is the kind of news that we want to support.
Originally posted 1-27-2009
Copyright 2012, Roshawn Watson, Pharm.D., Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.