Thursday 1 January 2009

2009: year of opportunity?

Recessions are like wildfires: painful if you are caught in one, perhaps even fatal, and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet from the charred earth will ultimately spring recovery and even more vigorous growth.

As a specialist in drafting profit warnings, I have mixed feelings about 2009, rather like an undertaker reading press reports of an impending flu pandemic. As a sentimental old reactionary, I naturally regret the expected collapses of some fine old institutions. But while it is obviously ghastly for those whose jobs are on the line, the major corporate casualties up to now have been the walking dead; businesses that had failed to adapt to their changing market place.

The important thing is to ensure that the next generation of growing enterprises does not also go up in smoke. The best contribution we can all make to that end is to keep acting and spending normally. Every piece to camera by Robert Peston should be followed by that old Crimewatch disclaimer: don’t have nightmares. It may not be as bad as we have been led to fear. And if it is, keep reminding yourself that it is going to do us good in the long run.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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