Have you ever met someone who has lost their job due to a recession? Did they have a family to support? A mortgage for their dream home to pay? Did it all make you any more cautious?
We realize for obvious, that during a recession there is a higher probability of wide-spread job cuts, which impacts household spending, and consumer demand, and manufacturing, and investment, and well, innovation. I’m no expert at global economics, so I would leave the grunts of a recession to the economists, but what really prompted me to write this rant is the blurry sociological outlook that comes with an economic downturn.
The question I asked a friend the other day was whether a recession triggers long-lasting behavioural changes in people, due to all the financial realignment during a recession? I wonder how an economic downturn affects the culture and lifestyle of an urban society in a longer run. Do we enjoy lavish dining during a period of recession? Are we as frantic about bigger Plasma TV’s? Does personal entertainment still call for vivid extravagances?
Over at Hacker News, a few months ago someone asked if anyone who lived through the Japanese price bubble of the 90’s would care to share their experiences? I felt, one of the responses in that discussion was an interesting allegory of sorts:
It was terrible. People were forced to eat raw fish for sustenance. They couldn’t get full-sized electronics, so they were forced to make tiny ones. Unable to afford proper entertainment, folks would make do by taking turns to get up and sing songs.
For some the sound of a recession springs fear due to the uncertainty ahead, for others it springs frugality as a way of course-correction. In our minds, a recession can also question our future aspirations and the life-style we wish to lead. I think, a recession is a perfect time to gather our thoughts together and answer some of these questions, because believe it or not, there will be more of these in a life-time.
As one of my senior colleagues mentioned to me during the the early 2000s recession, “I have started appreciating recessions… they give me an opportunity to change wilfully instead of forcefully.”