Financial downturns, plane crashes, and train wrecks

Image “Panic of 1873 bank run”, Illus. in: Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1873 Oct. 4, p. 67. – see Wikipedia for further details

Tim Harford, wrote a great blog post today, “Time to bring in the crash investigators”, which opened as follows:

The NTSB is capable of providing a clear and authoritative narrative, explanations and conclusions about the crisis

After a financial train wreck, it’s time to begin to learn lessons from the disaster and prevent its recurrence.

I found that the blog post led me to a number of further thoughts around this topic, which I have set out below.

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AppreciaTED – a longer term perspective on nation states and the global economy

TEDxBrussels, which I attended earlier this week (November 22, 2011), had the tagline “A day deep in the future” – the talks covered a broad range of perspectives around this theme, covering “Technology”, “Science from Fiction”, “Science”, “Made in Belgium”, and “Politics and Economics” – within this last category, Paddy Ashdown gave an excellent 18 minute talk titled “Why the world will never be the same & what we should do about it” (click on the video above to watch the talk).

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Thoughts on the accelerating evolution of business models

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jpsdk

Thoughts on the accelerating evolution of business models, and the related psychological stages / ‘fear levels’ that we go through

In the past, economics, life and business evolved at a slower (than today) pace. At the time (then) it didn’t feel like it, but then we didn’t really know what was coming.

Today it feels like are we are traveling at speed on the motorway, with our head out the window, having only last week been enjoying leisurely drives down picturesque country lanes. The chances of a life endangering crash are now higher; you get to take in less of the surroundings as you hurtle along, but there’s still the thrill of the ride, while it lasts.

While we need to concentrate on the driving, it is important however still to be clear on the next part of the journey – hence (away from the analogy!) one needs to consider how the increasing pace of business and economic change is impacting one’s future development.

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Glimmers of hope? Thoughts on the shape and feel of economic recovery

Recent news articles have stated that Germany and France have formally/statisticly exited recession (such as the BBC, on 13 August 2009 “France and Germany exit recession“). During the first half of 2009 equity market swings caused talk of ‘green shoots’ and whether they might be sustainable (Martin Wolf, Financial Times ft.com/economistsforum). Talk of ‘green shoots’ has now been replaced by discussion of economic growth, albeit most projections showing it to be relatively small in the near-term.

For the last 18 months many people have talked about turnaround/recovery possibly occurring in 2010.  As we near 2009 year-end there is clearly hope, and some cautious optimism in the market that this might hold true, even if most seem to agree that there is still a lot of hard work to come and the pace of recovery might be slow (for example, the UK Treasury recently announced, here, that independent forecasts for FY10 have UK GDP growth at an average of 1.4%).

Market commentators are now talking about ‘the shape of the recovery‘, and using terms like ‘the new normal‘ to discuss how a looming economic recovery might present itself.  Can we have confidence that things are changing for the better?

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Reflecting on the Noughties – a decade of “reckless consumption”?

In response to an article written by Nick Coleman in the current issue (Volume 3, Issue 1, Autumn 2009) of The Economist’s “Intelligent Life” magazine (which, by the way, I find to generally be a very good read).

iStock_000004652423XSmallThe article by Nick Coleman, titled ‘The i-Decade‘, talks about what styles and items have defined the past 10 years, with the end of the decade almost upon us.

Responses were collected from various people, and while diverse views were presented, ranging from electronics to fashion, from social media to cars, and handbags to cycling, a common theme mentioned by many commentators focused on an observation of an increase in consumption and consumerism. This was defined by one particular commentator as ‘reckless consumption‘.

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Thoughts on globalisation (written October 2005)

Globalization – Who wins, and who loses?

“Globalization”, in particular the increase in trade across the globe, is not a new occurrence.  It has been occurring over several centuries already, beginning with the trading of key natural resources and continuing into the last century with international trade (export/import) of, mostly, finished goods.

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In the last decade Globalization has become ever more prominent driven by the growth in the role of emerging markets such as China, India, and Latin America, and the trend for producers to source different parts, not just whole finished goods, from different locations depending on their cost competitiveness. These changes have been created by improved technology and focus on reducing trade barriers. Globalization has also become a source of much media attention and raises emotional arguments due to its fundamental impact on the daily lives of people across the globe.

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IPTV

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IPTV (or Internet Protocol Television) should, in my view, be the next major milestone in social habits and consumer choice.  Joost, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, youTube and Vimeo all offer online video (as well as others) but there is still so much potential for media organisations to open up their catalogues of existing material to worldwide audiences and extract value from individual consumer purchases.

Consumers are still generally treated on a regional basis due to media organisations attempts to control their market and resist new entrants (yes, I believe this to be anti-competitive).

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