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Is the social and economic barometer stuck on ‘change’?

Is the social and economic barometer stuck on ‘change’?

Our World | On 21, Jul 2011

The COI closing, public spending cuts, retailers in administration, agencies announcing losses, high inflation, rising fuel costs, a stagnant economy, the Middle East and North Africa in turmoil, half of Europe on the verge of bankruptcy. Welcome to the summer of 2011.

If I could see a light at the end of the tunnel I’m fairly certain it would be an on rushing train, of course there is no light at the end of the tunnel as the train drivers are probably on strike again!

So, my question to the events industry is, having survived the recession, gulf wars, SARS, tsunamis, bird flu, swine flu, terrorism, ash clouds etc, is all this turmoil just the new ‘norm’, or is there a more fundamental structural change taking place?

Looking back, is the market actually that dissimilar to how it was ten years ago? Since 9/11 we’ve seen dips, booms, busts, bubbles, recessions, start-ups, profits, losses, over-occupancy, under occupancy, travel bans, pandemics, disasters, soaring and collapsing room rates, “yes we can”, “no we can’t”, left, right, centre and coalition, democracy, dictatorship, uprisings, revolutions, coups and stability with no doubt more to come.

Surely we must return to some sort of normality soon? This level of uncertainty, instability and change can’t continue for the next ten years…Or can it?

Are we actually in the middle of a significant structural change in our society, economy and civilisation? History scholars might point out that since 1945 Europe and the global economy have seen unprecedented stability and growth and indeed identify that there hasn’t been such stability since the Romans 2000 years ago and that in fact stability is unusual! If you’ve just done a double take on that statement (as I did) then perhaps you should look at the 150 years of history prior to 1945 – a few local highlights are the industrial revolution, two world wars, the American civil war, the Napoleonic wars, two Anglo-Chinese Opium wars, the Crimean war, two Boer and one Zulu wars, the Russian revolution, over a hundred other minor skirmishes like the Spanish-American war and the Franco-Prussian war and of course a little bit of colonialism that painted half the world British red or French blue.

So perhaps the era we have grown up in has been an anomaly, a reaction to the utter and total devastation of WWII and we are now only just returning to ‘normality’. Time alone will tell but it is certainly a slightly disturbing concept!

Nigel Cooper

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