Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On Recent Economic Turmoil

I long ago gave up any pretensions to predicting anything.  I have been through my own set of "The Sky Is Falling" scenarios which have seldom manifested themselves in anything other than my mind.  As a result of this hard won experience, I have been less inclined to give my thoughts on any such matters (or really, much of anything at all any more), content to watch and listen and quietly nod as other opine.

And neither am I an economist.  I sat through Micro and Macro economics and to be honest, all I really learned is 1)  what elastic and inelastic are; and 2)  The the modern economy is a very fragile thing, a thousand connections built in such a way that potentially a failure in one are will ultimately break the entire mechanism.

As a result of all of this, I do not really understand the financial shenanigans that have erupted following the Brexit vote.  I do grasp the fact that markets do not like uncertainty and there is plenty of that right now, but the loss of value - around the world - escapes me.

But I do get the fact that there are connections and implications.  I do not necessarily understand what is causing this, but I do understand the results of it - and none of them work out well for us in the end.

More practically for myself, market turmoil means less products from my company are being sold.  If less products are being sold, that means that that eventually our revenue stream falls.  At best it means that we will have a minimal bonus or maybe no bonus at all; at worst it means that a number of  us will be looking for jobs in an environment where a lot of people will be.

All of sudden everything takes on a new cast.  At work, I begin to carefully watch the activities of those around me, looking for signs that decisions are being made or signs are being given off about cut backs (having been laid off once, I am especially sensitive to anything that looks like management is tightening its belt - and usually that includes lay offs); at home, I begin to question expenditures - including my own - in the context of "Do we really need it?, of looking more closely within to fill the time instead of to without.

It is not that I have a sense of immediate financial doom; I have long ago given up on that.  What I am left with is that rather omnipresent sense of dread that follows one around everywhere, the sense that we are constantly living on a precipice.

And that one day we - or at least I - will go over.

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