It now looks like we are in for a serious financial re-adjustment – some say recession, others say depression. Even worse, some are saying this is the beginning of the end of the US and Europe as the dominant financial forces in the world. It’s been 17 years since the world last had a significant, far-reaching financial slow-down, so it’s not surprising that we are here again. It’s funny how we don’t seem to learn, and somehow assumed that the unprecedented growth in Australia, the US, and Europe would go on forever. However it turns out, we are most certainly venturing into the woods – into the unknown. Who knows when we will emerge?
But it’s not surprising that we are where we are. The over-consumption of the past 15 years is not new – we are a product of a system that encourages consumption, and, discourages saving in all its forms (including the delay of gratification and personal savings). We are also a species that has evolved to seek reward, and where possible use the most efficient means to be successful, even if it clouds out our long-term rational decision making.
There are many factors that have combined to bring us to this point. Over the next couple of posts, I’m going to try to tease out why I think we are at this point, once again. I will borrow heavily from philosophy, psychology and sociology, to try to come to grips with this. I encourage your (respectful) feedback.