Sunday, 1 January 2012

Yes, we can

To many, the year gone by was a bad year. Natural disasters took their toll - the earthquakes in Japan & New Zealand, the floods in Thailand, Brazil and the Philippines,  Irene slapped the US earlier in the year, and just as the year was slipping by, Thane kicked Tamil Nadu. Unemployment remained rampant in the developed world ; there is nothing more demoralising than losing your job and not having a hope of getting another one. Large parts of Europe are in crisis. Austerity measures are hurting badly, especially in Greece, and now Italy. Inflation has hurt people in China and India and growth slowing down in both countries is ominous. The Arab world had a new spring, but winter seems to have set in somewhat prematurely.  You could be forgiven for ushering in the new year in a somewhat sombre mood.

But there is every reason to look forward with hope. Adversity often brings the best in man. We can find strength that we did not even know we possessed. The Euro zone will hold together and the crisis will pass. Belt tightening will be required, but with courage and fortitude, there will be less suffering. Joblessness in the developed world will start to reduce as a slow recovery happens . There is no better a mood lifter than getting and holding a job. Inflation will ease in India and China - signs are there already and more and more people can lift themselves out of poverty. An encouraging part of the world is Africa. Long abandoned as a basket case, many countries are showing good growth and the Asian achievement of lifting people out of poverty is slowly, but surely, being replicated in Africa.


The year ahead is going to see significant elections in France and the US and a generation change in leadership in China. Each one of these is going to be momentous - none more so than the change looming in China where for the first time, such a change is going to happen without a strongman like Mao or Deng lording over it. Perhaps a leadership change might happen in India too.

We can look forward to 2012 with hope. I am surmising that the worst is over economically. The upturn might be slow, but upturn it is going to be. We can do much better this year and when the time comes to ring out the year, we can be in a much more cherful mood than we are today. Yes , we can.

26 comments:

  1. Whatay Summary. Confidence inspiring (oozing) post. thanks a ton don. let your words come true :)

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  2. Well said. Thats a great summary of the world economics.
    Hope the worst is over as you say.
    Lets live on:

    Having
    Our
    Positive
    Edge

    alive in 2012!!

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  3. sandhya sriram1/1/12

    Going with your new title don I am inspired to wear Gils hat and give a punch line
    Don Ka Sunday post match Karna muskil hi na namunkin hai.
    What an amazing round up. But isn't it also true that there are macro problems that don't impact your life and many killing micro issues that don't impact the economy at all. As long as the Mayan prediction for 2012 doesn't come true or a major catastrophe doesn't hit us the rest will pass. What say?


    Wishing you and your amazing readers a very happy new year.

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  4. @sandhya:

    :D :D kalakiteenga...
    @thala:

    ipo thaan vijay tvla oru chat showla 2012 prediction solli bayamuruthitrukaanga..ur post is a refreshing change :D atulayum parunga..ella rasi pathi solapovum oray contradiction on josiyar side..aana en raasiku unanimous aatharavu that it wud be aapu confirmed :))

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  5. Loved the post.
    Amen!

    :)
    Watch out for your snail mail :)

    preeti

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  6. Anonymous1/1/12

    A very refreshing nd promising post.Hope is what keeps people going.2011 had been worst,looking forward for 2012 with all the hope.

    AA

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  7. @Ramesh- Amen to this post! God bless Pandora to let Hope out of that box; whoever knew such a delicate and fragile creature would actually make the world go round someday!

    @sandhya- I am not sure if you know, but there was one Indigo Day (annual fest) where someone actually did an impersonation of Ramesh as Don! The tagline was Don ki talaash 11 mulko ki police kar rahi hai, lekin wo nahi jaante ki Don ko pakad paana mushkil hi nahi namumkin hai! (and the script of that act was written by yours truly based on Don's stronghold on some 11 or more countries in those days; and a special mention of the guy who did it, we never took any names in our act, but as soon as the guy walked in, everyone recognized who he was meant to be! :D :D aah those good old days)

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  8. Yes, hope we can, and hope we will - for the slow uptick. Here in US, I hope the housing market (which is related to everything else) shows slow signs of recovery.

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  9. @zeno - Its the season for confidence and cheer, isn't it ?

    @Hema - Well said.

    @Sandhya - Now, where did that "Don" come from ?? Oh yes, the micro will always triumph the macro for any single individual, but hopefully the micro will turn out good as well.


    @gils - Just shows that the josiyar profession is a fraud one :)

    @Preeti - Oh yes, wait a minute Mr Postman .... !!

    @AA - Indeed, hope drives humanity, doesn't it ?

    @Deepa - OMG. Never knew you were the "culprit" :)

    @Shachi - Yes, the housing market is a critical one in the US, but even without recovery there, as long as joblessness decreases, I think there's cheer to be had.

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  10. Thanks for the hopeful words...I'm hoping with you too...awesome post!

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  11. +1 +1 +1 for your words. Hope is indeed a strong potion to move forward. Hope your hope to go true.

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  12. @Rads - You know what - hope can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Lets hope it works in this case

    @RamMmm - Welcome back and thanks for brightening up the new year

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  13. Indeed Ramesh - optimism erases gloom and that is the best way to look forward to. Can't feel more cheery after reading your post.

    Happy new year to all the readers! Here is a commercial video (very recently released) that echoes very well with the feeling of this post :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMaT4vcBG6Y

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  14. The positivity of thelast paragraph is radiating out of the monitor. Beautiful synopsis of 2011. Thank you i did'nt know of many things.

    Yes, we can, we shall and we will.

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  15. @Vishal - Yes, saw the ad on TV. Its a nice feel good ad. Not sure if it would sell more Coke though :)

    @Asha - We shall and will. Well said.

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  16. :) precisely, that is where hopes are pinned on :) :)

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  17. Indeed a very optimistic note!! But I personally have a diferent view - if we were to go by some of the macro events, I guess we are yet to see the worst. Europe is on the verge of collapse or a major adjustment - it appears that Europe's debtor countries and banks are sitting on edge - a few basis points away from a disaster. China seems to be slowing down too as evident from fast falling property prices and it's bad debt could be even larger than US subprime. Meanwhile, US has surprisingly become a safe heaven and has witnessed record demand for its bonds in 2011...investors are showing great confidence in Ben Bernake, pretty much sure that the US Fed will print more money to pay off the bondholders. If I go bankrupt and start printing money at home, it is called counterfeiting and I'll be put into the jail. But if US Fed or ECB does the same thing, they call it "Quantitative Easing". All similar measures in the past has resulted in hyperinflation, contraction of economies, mass unemployment, civil unrest - that's what happened in late 1700s in France that led to French Revolution. Germans has seen it more recently in 1930s and that's the reason they are very reluctant to bail out Greece and other EU debtor nations. We are seeing similar signs that marked 2011 as the year of protests. In such a scenario, Africa is indeed emerging as an agri-economy that'll feed the world. India used to be the largest economy back in 1700, but the subsequent forced "outsourcing" of Indian governance to British reduced Indian economy to the bottom of the list. And now India is again poised to become the third largest economy over the next 15 years or so. So, I consider all of us very lucky to be born in India around this time. But things will get worse before it starts getting better I guess, although no body knows when.

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  18. hope your words ring true! if not anything hope we have reached the nadir and things can only look up from here

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  19. Anonymous4/1/12

    Happy new year Ramesh.

    I have shared your blog with my team as i think its a great example of 'choosing your attitude' about things happening around you and to you. I believe it will be essential in 2012 to have a 'glass half full' approach to things.... a this is a great start !!

    cheers Trevor

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  20. @Tarun - Apreciate your analysis. One of the defining features of economics is the herd mentality - when its bad; it appears too bad and when its good; its euphoria. My own view is that the gloom is overstated. But as you say, lets see what happens

    @Kiwi - Hopefuly. Trust you are finally back in Kiwi land and communing with the sheep :)

    @Trevor - Honoured. Wishing all our Adelaide colleagues a wonderful 2012

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  21. I wouldnt be surprised if I see a book on world last year :) by you in the stands :) Very well writtern :)

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  22. @Sri - Awww. You are very kind Sri.

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  23. And Happy New Year to U too Ramesh!!!!

    What a different post....[amazing is the word but Sandhya Sriram already used it;-P] and an eye-opener....in the sense that u put everything thats happening arnd the world together in one post & I sort of [mentally]reeled back as I read.

    And u r optimist abt 2012....
    Out where I'm staying the situation is still the same if anything, getting worse. Time to get out of here seriously.

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  24. @Reflections - Yes its pain, but I think the worst may be over. So yu can stay on as a "Begum" for long :)

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  25. awww,,, lovely post ram... loved it :) optimism is the need of hour... and yes we can!!!

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  26. @sulo - What is life without an overdose of optimism !

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