Posted on Apr 05, 2011
We managed to talk ourselves into a recession.
Admittedly it was on the back of , and as a somewhat reflex reaction to, some of the most immoral and rapacious behaviour seen in most of our lifetimes. While banks in this part of the world may not have had their snouts firmly implanted in the trough, many of the people running other of our finance institutions certainly did. Perhaps the Americans were worse. Or maybe the Icelandics , or the Scots. But irrespective of who fleeced who, and who rolled over and bared their stupidity for the world to view, it has exposed abjectly slack governance of companies both private and public in this part of the world. That is not a plea for more regulation, or more government supervision, but a reminder that those of us in positions of responsibility, whether private or public , need to examine how we wield the responsibility of governance.
Just as there have been people who should know better who have lead the charge into recession with their mouths and their keyboards, so too have there been people who should have known better who were seduced by the tide of promises of easy and quick money, and have taken liberties with resources they were charged with the duty of safeguarding.
Were the woes of half a world away really cause for a recession? Globalisation is a reality, and it does mean we are more closely, almost intimately, connected. And that is not a bad thing. But often it can be a poor excuse for something that is inexcusable. But, perhaps now there is starting to be a realisation that those with jobs here in New Zealand, and that is still most of us, are pretty well off. We have lower mortgage interest rates and lower gas prices. And many have even reined in the prolifigate spending on gigantic televisions and the like.
People around the world are in the main still eating our food and drinking our wine. Even if they are prepared to pay a little less for the privilege. Perhaps there is starting to be an awakening that if we talked ourselves into a recession, we can work our way out.
Just as every three years around election time there appears a herd mentality to do nothing and wait, and every year prior to Christmas the same mentality induces us to empty our wallets, perhaps now we need to invoke a collective will to work ourselves - and that involves perspiration, endeavour and risk - towards prosperity. The fascinating aspect of the prevailing economic climate is that it is the smaller enterprises who are taking this message on board. Perhaps realising that doing nothing will get them nowhere, and getting back to work is the only way to break out of the swamp of self despair we seem to have mired ourselves in.
On a very practical note, I recently visited Bizzone - a trade show for businesses serving businesses to display their wares. I made 6 concrete enquiries. Yes - there were 6 products and/or services that interested me enough to leave my card with a firm enquiry.
There is a special mystery prize to the reader who knows the answer to this month's question:
How many of the 6 businesses were hungry enough for my business to follow up after the show? (small print: In the event that there is more than one reader who is in tune enough with the impact of our supposedly recessionary times to know the answer, a totally unscientific and unsupervised draw will be made to select the winner ).