OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE
Sounds a boring subject but it is one which will influence our lives and if we were to ask a sample of people at random, we would receive many different and many contradictory answers. And then you can superimpose on that whether the person is an optimist or pessimist; whether they have a good knowledge of economics or a related subject and, to complicate it even more, it will depend on the individual’s mood and attitude at the time of asking. So who really knows our economic future?
Call the experts!
The real answer will cheer you up or have you more confused; it is, of course, nobody knows. We can only indulge in that speculative exercise of trend prediction. And if you are in any doubt about the communal, economic, and agnostic state, then you only have to refer to the biggest ever credit crunch, which did not appear on the radar of the experts though, in hindsight, the catastrophic event seemed obvious, predictable and transparent.
This is a good time to introduce another dimension. For economic, read socioeconomic. Too often we refer to our economic future in raw data, obliterating any human interaction or intervention.
In the halcyon days before the credit crunch, there were many Boards who knew that their virtual performance graph was unsustainable and that their market must implode. But it would have to be a brave MD who would put their head above the parapet and say, “I foresee a crisis. We must curtail our growth, reserve our cash, reduce our profit and accept share devaluation.” In other words, enter the socio element of trend prediction.
The media don’t help as they tend to have a negative and polemical interpretation of data. At the time of writing, we have just had record manufacturing output which is buried in the unreported archives and up jumps the pronouncement of a small rise in unemployment.
Can we predict the future?
Can we realistically predict the future in terms of economic well being? In this short-termist society the answer must be, probably no. Plan the now and you are planning the future. Globalisation, which has launched us on to the world stage and technology, which is challenging our work and social modus operandi, have collectively put us in a different space which is new and adjunct to riding a roller coaster.
Societal Values, Environmental Ethics, Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility Policies, Fat Cats, Human Rights, Hacking and Freedom of the Press are now becoming present and intergenerational issues for debate. No longer is economics and the run for profit seen as the only corporate goal. Our present generation is demoting corporate greed and elevating ethics and work/life balance as the ultimate goals in an environment where challenge means change and change is endemic.
So, if the future is now and like me you love the rock and roll aspect of technological advancements, its potential implications and applications, we can positively look forward to an exciting if unpredictable ride.