Saturday, November 28, 2009


I read an interesting article on the other day about "the recovery." Of course everyone knows I speak of the flow stemming from the current recession-ebb, one which we as a world as in definite need of. But the point of the article wasn't echoing the current sentiments prevailing on the news and internet, it was speculating that "the recovery" is essentially something mental, rather than something monetary or something physical.

The authors, rather respected and decorated economists and great thinkers (including Nobel Prize in Economics winners) postulated that a recession recovery really begins once the majority of the population mentally decides that the recession needs to begin winding down and a recovery needs to begin. This unspoken emotion begins to manifest as an increasing consumer sentiment reading, then an increase in spending, and eventually the society as a whole begins to consume more (after all, we need to identify ourselves as a consumer national after we made the pivotal and decisive shift to a consumer society from a manufacturing society back in the 1950s) and once production and attitude begins to increase and improve, then jobs begin to come back.

The posed hypothesis is that we control the 'business cycles' through our attitudes and sentiments. It argues the 1920s were a period of radical optimism and merriment, stemming from the end of WWI, but by the end of the 1920s, and coupled by it not ushered in by the sudden crash of the stock market, there was a 'looming, terrible permeating pessimism,' one which was ready to annihilate the past decade of growth. It says that if a mental shift occurs, which is beginning to take place now, then a recovery is imminent.

It does make plenty of sense, though it is not recognized as an official term or identified as an actual phenomena. One can begin to sense a subtle shift occurring, however, so perhaps it is true. Driving through the surrounding towns and cities here in MA, I can see several new businesses opening. I see the local train stations more packed with cars belonging to workers heading into Boston to work. I am also seeing more non-essential businesses thriving: flower shoppes, karate centers, copy centers, small breakfast restaurants, and even a few local manufacturing businesses. Through CT and RI, when I have traveled back to visit my parents, I am also seeing this occur, though at a smaller scale and much slower.

Is this occurring because we as a population have decided we've had enough of it and we cannot be restrained by the term any longer? Have we preempted the official 'end' to the recession by determining through our sentiments and attitudes that it should end? Are our minds capable of such monumental accomplishments?

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