Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back to the 70s?

What previous era does the present represent? I am vacillating between the sixties and the seventies and I am hoping it is the former but it increasingly looks like the latter.

I view the sixties and the seventies as the "coasting" years. Decades of technological advances and suddenly improved lives for a lot of people. This led to a couple of decades of loafing. Towards the end of the seventies however the country had gotten itself into a rut and it took some painful and progressive ideas to crawl out of the hole and to innovate and advance again.

True, the sixties were a significant decade in themselves. Vast improvement was made in the area of human rights and a coherent "world think" rather than an ethnocentric focus started to take shape in that decade. Technologically too major breakthroughs were made, not least the landing of a man on the moon.

No present era can completely mirror a past era. Too many of the variables are different both politically and socio-economically. But this simple mind wonders if there are some parallels and what we should do to come out of this relatively unscathed?

How should we plan to a bumpy but flat lined period economically? The best option appears to be to hunker down and dramatically improve savings. This however would mean trouble for the larger economy given that it depends so much on consumer spending. Warren Buffet said that he looks forward to bear markets because it gives him a window of opportunity to add to positions of the the good companies he owns on the cheap. Maybe, we should follow that lead and do less of consumer spending and more of investing instead and let the economy shake itself out.

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