Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recession is a Four Letter Word

It took some time for the word "recession" to replace the ubiquitous "these tough financial times", a phrase I hope never to hear again. According to Wikipedia, the word recession accurately describes what has been occurring in the world economy, to wit: "In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction, a general slowdown in economic activity over a period of time for more than two consecutive quarters". Phrases like "credit crunch" and "these challenging financial times" are almost euphemistic in the way they tiptoe gingerly around our recent economic status.

Though the downturn began in 2008 the experts who help us understand the state of our economy only lately began to use the word "recession" to describe our circumstances. But stating the obvious, giving the elephant in the room (perhaps another over used phrase?) a name, then moving on to consider the world the way we'd like to see it seems like a good idea. Continuing to blame those who unwisely changed the reporting requirements for banks, allowing mortgages for people who could not afford them, is foolish. Financial institutions conveniently mashing up numbers to hide their ill-considered and selfish machinations is just wrong. Call it by name, insist that the entities and individuals responsible own their mistakes and make retribution, change the system so this cannot happen again, then move on in a productive and positive fashion.  

My ninth-grade English teacher always admonished us to "Tell it like it is". It may sound simplistic, but I think this approach is best in circumstances where there is a challenge to overcome.

The good news according to Recession.org is that bank economists feel the worst of the global recession has passed.

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