The Depression bites

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

While most governments are still playing around with the terminology and still will not call it the big “D” word the common man in the street knows that we are already in a depression, regardless of what the power brokers and politicians are trying to tell us.

Car production in the United Kingdom alone has fallen by two-thirds over the last year, that is to say in the time from March 2008 to March 2009.

The 2010 British International Motorshow at London's ExCel has been cancelled and we can but wonder what is going to be next and who, as far as businesses and industries are concerned. Other trade fairs, at least in the UK, have also suffered and have reduced in size, and gone to smaller, cheaper, venues, bar a few.

The Green Sector, on the other hand, should be booming, especially if done right and the prices are competitive and, as TerraCycle has shown and shows, this can be done.

This is on the retail side more so than on the larger commercial green projects. In the case of the latter, such as, for instance, wind energy projects, we are seeing investors pulling out. Less so, though, I think, because they think that there will be no return on their investments but more so because the investors too are tightening their belts and purse strings.

From this we can well gauge the mood and it is that of a very depressed economy, and that on a more or less world-wide scale.

Consumer interest is, however, as was shown by a recent study in Britain, rising as far as energy savings are concerned and here the “green” sector must get the pricing right. So, the recession-come-depression appears, inadvertently, to be good for the environment and the Planet in this way.

Also in other ways the recession-come-depression might be good as it may make people think, for instance, about their use of the car, or of the air conditioning, and such.

While I know that in many rural areas, especially in places such as America and Canada, but also the UK, there is not much choice other than the car, except and unless you want to and can go Amish-style; if you need to go into town or anywhere for that matter. In towns and cities, on the other hand, people must come to consider other options.

Those could be anything from walking and cycling to the use of the public transit system.

Going down the block to get the morning paper does not require the use of the car nor does taking kids to school just a few hundred yards to a mile or so away. That can be achieved by walking or cycling.

Costs of gas, though at the time of writing it seems to be low again, in the States at least though not so in the UK and other European countries, and the need to use that money otherwise might just make some people rethink. Not before time and not a bad thing.

The same also in regards to other things that have an impact on the environment and the Planet, such a the use of energy and the “must have” goods that people perceive, because of clever advertising to be “needs” rather than “wants” far too often.

While I am fully aware of the fact that the governments of both the USA and Britain are trying to get people to spend, spend, spend, the countries out of the recession/depression this is (1) not going to happen because people who are worried that they may lose their jobs are not going to go out and spend the little money that they have spare and (2) it will not work, period.

While I am no economist and not pretending to be one either I am not stupid and can use common sense, hence it is obvious to me, as it is to others that have open eyes, that the “stimulus” is not going to help anyone bar the greedy bankers and will just make them carry on as before (see the Great Depression for the governments are currently repeating the same mistakes as then) and it will be the little people that will, once again, suffer and the small businesses.

But, as far as the “Green” Sector is concerned, as I have previously said, with the right approach and the right pricing structure it should be raking it in. The one example green businesses, can learn from is, and I keep repeating myself – and not they are not paying me for this (chance would be a fine thing) – TerraCycle and any green entrepreneur could do worse than read the book by Tom Szaky “REVOLUTION IN A BOTTLE”.

With the right pricing structure and the right attitude the green entrepreneurs could and should be the real winners, as far as businesses are concerned, from this economic downturn. And talking of economics; it is time we put the eco into economics properly.

Now, how about some green banks?

© 2009