Monday, November 7, 2011

Is our civilisation going under? Many signs of it for sure...

Once again, people are getting seriously concerned about their finances. The latest G20 meeting certainly put the light on what many would have preferred kept in the dark...
There are many signs - big and small - of something huge happening. Here are some of them:
1. Global online consumer confidence fell for the seventh consecutive quarter as confidence in 31 of 56 global markets measured declined, according to third quarter global online consumer confidence findings from Nielsen.
“A recessionary mindset is growing among consumers as more than half say they are currently in a recession—up four percentage points from last quarter and seven points from the start of the year. The result is continued spending restraint for discretionary expenses, which is expected to continue into the next year.”
In the latest round of the survey, conducted August - September 2011, the economy re-emerged as the top concern among 18 percent of online consumers around the globe. The economy last topped concerns in Q4 2010, before it was replaced by worries over increasing food prices in the first half of this year. Job security follows close behind for 14 percent of consumers, rising five percentage points from three months ago. Managing a work/life balance, increasing food prices and concerns about health round out the top five most stressful issues for respondents.
2. Smaller packages. An interesting fact is that the advice normally given about retail in developing countries – to make the packages smaller because people can´t afford to buy a lot at once, even if it´s “3 for 2” – is now becoming the way the west shops too.
3. We are not impulse shopping anymore. Businessweek reports that impulse shopping is on the decline. More people are doing their research online before leaving home, rather than browsing the shelves to find what they want. Less time spent browsing means those unplanned purchases are less likely to happen.
4. Look at your savings account!!!
So should we be seriously worried, or is this just a little dip? We don´t know yet. I don´t want to be negative, but I read an interesting article in Newsweek, where Niall Fergusson pointed out that most big civilizations have broken down quickly. “Here yesterday, gone today”
  •  “In the space of a generation, the vast imperial metropolis of Rome fell into despair”
  •   ”The Ming dynasty´s rule of Chine also fell apart with extraordinary speed in the mid-17th century.
  •  “A more recent and familiar example is the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
  •  “The postcolonial dictatorships of North Africa and the Middle East imploded this year”
Fergusson says "What all these collapsed powers have in common is that the complex social systems that underpinned them suddenly ceased to function. One minute rulers had legitimacy in the eyes of their people; the next day they didn´t."

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