Short-term pain, long-term gain

April 24, 2010

It has to be said that taking a short view of things can be appealing. In today’s fast-changing world, as we enter the 21st century’s second decade, we live in what I would call a sense of immediacy, in ‘real time’ if you like. We expect an almost immediate reaction to what we say, do, tweet, publish… this is all well and good, but when it comes to the economy and the r-word (no, not recession, recovery!) the short view is not going to get us very far. A short-term, ‘knee-jerk’ approach towards economic problems is fine, well, in the short-term anyway, but it isn’t going to get us to that light at the end of the tunnel as fast as it should. Of course, a set of short-term policies and measures can deal adequately with current problems and keep things bearable, bubbling just beneath the surface. Nevertheless, what is really needed is to tackle the underlying structural issues. This can only be done by taking a long view. No-one likes having to wait to get what they want, but if what we want is future wealth and prosperity then patience is a small price to pay. Not just patience, but also pain, and for the moment that’s what the short-term holds.
Those countries that have been worst-hit by the economic crisis have had to swallow their pride and take tough austerity measures, including public spending cuts and tax hikes, which will surely affect standards of living. Companies have been quicker to react and for some time now have been implementing cost-cutting corporate policies, involving redundancies, salary freezes, the taking away of benefits, perks and so on. Last but not least, but most probably last in the ‘economic food chain’, comes the man on the street. Here, there’s plenty of suffering and belt-tightening. Unfortunately, with hindsight most of this pain could have been avoided if sensibly thought-through measures had been taken from day one. Bad decisions were taken and wrong choices were made, but after all that’s human nature. Let’s hope we start getting things right from here on in. If I were you, I’d shut your eyes, hold on tight and take a deep breath, because this is proving to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride to recovery. This is the short and the long of it.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: