Sep 30 2009

The Way We Were

“Lehman’s fall over a nerve-racking weekend a year ago pushed the financial crisis, which had begun months earlier with the subprime mortgage meltdown and the rescue of Bear Stearns Cos., to a terrifying new level.  Lehman’s bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. history, shocked investors who had expected the federal government to step in with a Bear-like 11th-hour rescue.  Its fall unleashed fears of a depression triggered by a domino-like toppling of battered financial institutions.” – Walter Hamilton

 

Having been born when I was, I missed the Great Wars, the first Great Depression, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  My memories actually begin during the war in Vietnam and except for a few bumps here and there, I have enjoyed a relatively stable and secure life.  I took much for granted in my progressively improving life until exactly September 11, 2001 – and suddenly it was all so interrupted and uncertain.  I wasn’t personally impacted.  I didn’t lose any family or friends, nor was my career in jeopardy – but no matter how hard I tried to convince myself everything would be fine again, I couldn’t get back to where I had been.  Gradually over the next five years or so, despite growing turmoil around the world, I started to feel more settled once again.  Then in the summer of 2008, it was apparent we were in for a rough ride.  Once again the month of September delivered a world-altering event.  This time it fortunately didn’t bring physical death and destruction but it did bring the end of several storied financial institutions along with hundreds of banks around the globe – and no one will ever know just how close we came to a complete financial collapse.

 

Here we are a year later and I would be very interested to learn how others feel.  I have been doing my best to focus on work and family without dwelling on all the troubling news.  On one hand I recognize that the economy has stabilized and the stock market is recovering quite steadily, but on the other hand it seems many of us are quite apprehensive and anything but confident or carefree.  There is no silver bullet to fix all our economic woes.  In fact, many organizations and individuals will be forced to deal with the de-leveraging process for years to come.  Our governments can only do so much and it scares me to think of the growing deficits around the globe.  At the same time, everything seems to move faster in the Internet age, so just maybe the recovery will quickly gain traction.  I predict that we are two years away from real recovery (significant job and economic growth) – but I would be happy to be wrong as long as it happens sooner.  What do you think?

 

 

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