People here said — and I believe them to an extent, though I wish we had people in power who could think of non-statist solutions. (Yes, I’m going to wish for the moon next) — that the economic recovery is neither instant nor sudden. And yep, we all remember the problems in 1981, or at least those of us who are either old enough or have read up on it.
And they might be right, and the economy might recover, yet. At least, I’m almost sure it will recover superficially and to a point, particularly if we remove the giant, inflated tick of Obamacare from its neck.
The problem is this: there are too many unknown unknowns on the way to prosperity or long lasting economic stability.
Let’s remember economics is just the term for a million small exchanges and a few big ones. It’s — cough — what we call what we choose to do together.
The problem is that real economics — not the stuff the government thinks it can control. It can’t really, you know, it can only impair or twist — are affected by all sorts of technological and international situations.
Some of the known unknowns I can foresee are stuff like:
The ability to work from home is eventually going to equalize compensation between high-pay/high-costs regions (like, say, all of the US by comparison to the rest of the wold) and low-pay/low cost regions. How do high-cost regions live on low pay?
The ability to work from home/live anywhere will rearrange all our cities, our cultural institutions, our public institutions.
The ability for anyone to report the news will rearrange not just our perception of what is happening, but things like public relations, product recommendation and, well, everything pertaining to commerce.
Each of these, and about a dozen other things I can’t think of this early in the morning, have complications, ramifications, etc. which will all affect the economy in ways we can’t foresee.
Which is why the only way to survive the upcoming mess is to stay flexible.
How do you stay flexible?
Well, part of it is imagining things ahead of their happening. Yesterday I was reading about airplane crashes (mostly because I’m a masochist) and one of the things they said is that most people find the chance of an air-crash so remote that they literally can’t imagine it, so they will sit, strapped in, in their crashed plane, until it blows up. They said we have maybe 90 seconds to leave the plane, and most people don’t even try.
I think — no, I know — it is the same when an economy is changing too fast to be anticipated easily.
How do I know this? I find I’m far less flexible in adapting to the changing publishing situation than my friends who were never traditionally published. And my friends who were more successful than I in the old system and are now trying indie, have even more trouble adapting.
Why? Because we were embedded in what we thought was a stable situation, and then things changed, unimaginably.
It’s the same thing with the rest of you and society at large. Things are changing way too fast, and therefore we must be ready to jump before someone says frog.
I know that in Portugal when the economy fell apart, people made great fortunes from things you wouldn’t consider. You know, like selling bread from the back of a van while all bakers were on strike.
1- Stay flexible. Don’t say “nothing will ever happen to my situation.” Imagine what could happen.
2- Don’t scare yourself. The best case scenario and worst case scenario are rarely the most likely. Also, you know, in those scenarios there’s usually nothing you can do.
3- Consider what you could do if not only your job, but all jobs like yours vanished/became very rare tomorrow. (Journalists are facing this now.) What could you do for money, with the skills you have. (And don’t assume the society goes back to the 19th century!)
4 – Run scenarios in your mind, including the very unlikely. Those might never happen, but it keeps your mind flexible.
5- Most importantly, keep learning. Learn how to do new things; learn new information; if all you can do is walk, walk a different way every morning.
6- Stay flexible. Be ready to adapt. The prize might not be to the smartest or to the swiftest, but it almost always is to those who best adapt. Make sure you’re one of those.