Fear & Liquidity
Well the SAAC show was exactly as I had anticipated. A great show, with excellent product selection, with a totally upbeat and relaxed California vibe. I had the opportunity to stop and shake hands and catch up with many suppliers and the word on the floor was one that was filled with upbeat sentiment and the belief that a great forth quarter was on the horizon.
Then I got back to my office, the news and the noise. Today, Ben Bernanke’s statement from the Federal reserve set off a wave of uneasiness that will most definitely send ripples down the line to every business owner, salesperson and economic watcher -- The struggling economy with its less than stellar growth is slowing down rather than gaining steam.
But what does it mean when America’s biggest corporations report their earnings and are “beating the street” left and right and we are still sputtering? I believe the simple answer is fear vs. liquidity. Companies, with money in the bank (liquidity) are choosing to hold tight to their dollars, rather than investing in manpower and hiring.
Afraid of tomorrow, companies are continuing to work lean with a “less is more mentality.” Why? Because there is still a giant lack confidence that the economy has entered recovery mode yet and so unemployment can’t escape the very frightening 9.5% zone. The unfortunate cycle will continue because the economy cannot truly recover until folks are able to find work. Ugh!
What can we do to rebuild confidence? A lot of what needs to be done for the nation is the exact same stuff that an individual would do to rebuild confidence after it is shaken to the core. And we also must turn off the noise. The Buddhist tradition teaches us to be mindful and live in the present, without thought to where we have been or where we are going. If we look solely at the raw data being reported, things at the corporate level are rosier than we might be able to recognize. A little national mindful meditation on living in the moment, might be exactly what we need right now.