The Bubble to end all Bubbles?

Hands up if you remember the dot com bubble? Or how about the Y2K bubble? Housing bubble? ‘Bubbles’ as they apply to all things economic are little more than an oversupply of positive confidence in a particular area of economic concern. In fact ‘Bubbles’ are caused by the SAME things as ‘Recessions’ just at opposite ends of the spectrum. Where booms and bubbles need an oversupply of (positive) confidence, Recessions (and depressions) also rely on an oversupply of (negative) confidence. And right now we could well be on the verge of the greatest ‘bubble’ we’ve manufactured:

The spending that occured for the Y2K bug and dot coms pales into insignificance compared to the spending being rolled out by Governments around the world in their attempts to counter the so called Global Financial Crisis. In fact, as ‘bubbles’ go, this one is monstrous and dwarfs anything we’ve seen. So a futurist question – what happens when this bubble goes ‘pop’?

What is likely to happen will by and large depend on where abouts the money was spent. Countries (and companies for that matter) that fritter away their cash on short term projects will face disaster, because once this bubble pops, there just won’t be any money left to bail anyone out. But countries (and companies) that spend on three core areas will be much better placed – infrastructure projects that reduce blockages in their supply chains; training to upskill potential employees for the NEXT level of skilled jobs; support projects that cushion the negative impacts on families and local communities as a result of employment and income challenges.

So far it appears the Government focus in Australia will be on infrastructure and on skills training. But what I’m not seeing is the spending on the support programs that will be needed to carry large portions of society through the gap between working and unemployment periods. I’m not seeing the increase in funding for Homeless people, often displaced due to an unexpected loss of income; support for families struggling to feed their children or themselves; families unable to pay car registration and insurances that compound employment challenges.

For companies, the same thing applies. What development projects can you work on that will remove or reduce blockages in your supply chains? Are you going to offload quality workers even though you KNOW that companies that did so in the last recession took far longer and were far less able to return to profitability when the upswing kicked in? Or will you be smart enough to work on inhouse training and Government funded training projects to keep them in touch and involved? What ‘people and family’ activities are you working towards to help local communities of which your staff and their families belong?

Because if you think that right now is the best time to ‘invest’ your money on a new luxury car because they are ‘cheap’ then you’ve probably got your focus on the wrong ‘bubble’. When the Government funding runs out, you’d want to be ready to pick up where the Government leaves off – playing catch-up with staff, skills and infrastructure will be too difficult to do.

Be wise and be precise

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