This year will be different to last year. No doubt very obvious but the real difference is that this year people are prepared to talk about hard times coming; and they are. If property is an indicator of recession, then we are already well into one. In the South West the developers stopped buying land some months ago, and a number of transactions that with a fair wind would have completed well before Christmas were turkeys long before that. It is not all bad news. Read Luke Johnson’s The Entrepreneur column in today’s FT. I am sure we are at his grim moment of reckoning, but he quotes Euripedes, “There is in the worst of fortune the best of chances for a happy change”. As for whether the experience (of a more sober and testing time) could be character forming, probably: but don’t forget that a lot of us have been there before, and are even now getting out the T Shirt.
Another example of raising revenue by pleading climate change. Norwich City Council are reported as about to introduce a scheme under which drivers of longer cars will face higher parking charges. This, the council claims, will help reduce carbon emissions. Quite how they reach this conclusion is beyond me. Clearly another instance of NFN (Normal for Norfolk).
Read The Economist’s article on The Future of Futurology (December 30, 2007), and in particular note the advice, “Think small, think short – and listen”. Some things don’t change: you will still (global warming notwithstanding) find Golden Plover on Dartmoor at this time of year. Other things you know will (more lap tops are sold now than desk top PCs). The difficulty is predicting what. The Economist’s third piece of advice, (the title to this post) is the one I use, even if it sounds somewhat negative when everyone else says they do! But as the Economist says, uncertainty looks smarter than ever before.