Panic Or Something!

This one's a compare and contrast, my dear readers.

The article and essay below feel, to me, like they're making a lot of the same considerations. [Am I being too hasty, or is the impending "panic" essentially just a bad reaction to the realization that we've behaved like morons for far too long? Or is it a mixture of both?]

T.R.O.Y. claims, "I think a key ingredient is a sense of practical hope, a real feeling based in experience that what one is doing matters." I suspect Sterling might agree, since his writing seems to come from a similar sense of hope based on experience and "what matters". Read the pieces below and decide for yourself.

Bruce Sterling - "2009 Will Be A Year Of Panic"

-- vs --

T.R.O.Y. - "The Challenge Of Utopia"

[interview w/ link to .rtf]

Thoughts? (Post a comment.)


Chris B. said...

I'm at work and don't have time to read both, but I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I believe that much of the panic is media-induced.

Companies fail all the time. Yes, we're in a period where more companies are feeling more of a pinch, but Circuit City was hanging by a thread for a while. This was a good opportunity to blame something other than lackluster management. Nobody rushed in to buy them which tells you something. Those banks buying bad mortgages were doomed, too. Execs planned it so that they'd get away clean - damned be the collateral damage. The lost jobs are the issue, and those are occurring because companies are nervous - not because they're going out of business, necessarily.

I saw an "economist" on WGN a few weeks back who said that the longest recession we've had was 16 months. We've been in a recession state for more than a year already, so it is likely that we'll set a new record, but it's also likely that we're past the mid-point at least.

When every politician, newscaster, and department store stops talking about the impending doom, I think things will begin to skew upward. Until then, we'll see more bulk jobs lost (convenient to blame a bad economy when this probably should have been done all along) and more sale prices on televisions.

Most egregious is the new Hyundai ad stating that if you buy their cars and then lose your job, they'll take the car back without a hit to your credit. Vultures.

bigsoda said...

Other than his incorrect use of "synchronicity," I like most of what T.R.O.Y. said. I'm a firm believer in both the notions that perfection is a path (not a destination) and that if you make something a little better each day, it will be a lot better after a lot of days.

Hope is the X-factor here. I agree with ChrisB that the media is pandering to the fear that Sperling talks about while reporting doom and gloom. Enterprises (corporations, communities, and governments) are slow moving beasts that react only when the "critical monkey" among them changes sentiment. As a result, optimistic enterprises are dependent on the optimism of their component parts.

The way out of this is for each and every one of us to find a way to make shit a little better today, and tomorrow, and the day after that so that we can reap the rewards of small optimisms in the shortest amount of time. Once we reach that tipping point, we'll be on our way up again.

PYLB said...

Well put, sir.

I'm gonna use that "critical monkey" term; I see those at work every now and then.

bigsoda said...

Here's the basis of the term: Hundredth Monkey Effect