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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Marketers – should start popping the red pills



 Have you ever had that feeling that things are not what they seem? You know, out of the corner of your eye you get a glimpse of a reality that disappears in a flash.

The world seems to jog along OKish but you know that something is wrong – horribly wrong. 

Remember that famous scene in the Matrix when Morpheus gave Neo the option to take the red or the blue pill? I think I have inadvertently swallowed the red pill and it is frightening.

As I look into the faces of people going about their day-to-day lives I wonder if they realize what is happening? Now I know that you would have to be a reclusive hermit not to appreciate that all is not well with the global financial system. Sure we know that things are bad – the media revels in the confused babel from the protesters in London, Madrid, Greece and America. The European heads of state meet yet again for the “last chance” to save the Euro and then meet again when the Greek Prime Minster scuppers their savior plan before the ink is dry.

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury overnight morph into global economists and make pronouncements on subjects they know nothing about. Growth is down or dead. The squeezed middle is squeaking. But you know that none of these people have popped the red pill. They all think that if they shout and demonstrate; maybe eviscerate some nasty bankers and stamp their feet hard enough they will convince their governments to pull the handle marked ‘growth’ that we will return their life to the good old days.

Tax the rich – help the poor and hey presto we are back to ‘normal’. If you have taken the red pill you know that is not going to happen. You know these are all fruitless imbecilic and sad gestures.

The real reality is of Europe and America is in accelerating decline with small pockets of competitive industry. Legions of jobs that were created by government spending and consumer debt are fast evaporating. The massive move of economic vibrancy from West to East, that was masked by trillions of $/£/Euros of borrowing, is speeding up. The option to borrow more to plaster over the cracks has stopped.

The standard of living that most people enjoyed for the past two decades is declining at a faster and faster rate. The ruling class of politicians, administrators academics and business people have no idea what to do to halt the change.

But these are great times. When there is chaos there are opportunities. We are set for a prolonged period of diminishing growth – falling living standards – probably civil unrest – but all of these things create the demand for new products and services. Those with crystalized income (what we call wealth) mainly the old will become increasingly important consumers. The majority of them don’t have enough money for the rest of their days but they have a lot more than their kids. Who would have thought that it takes a breach in the economic continuum to destroy our youth centric culture? 

The question you have to ask is this a pile of nonsense? It is certainly one reality. Take the red pill and see what you think or pop the blue one and go home - like the rest of your friends - and wake up in dreamworld. Dick Stroud

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