Can there be an upside to an economic downturn?

The short answer is, it depends on what you want to accomplish.

If you want to re-establish the lifestyle you enjoyed a few months ago, you are probably in for a lot of disappointment.

If you are willing to accept an economic downturn as a learning experience, you may find yourself with an entirely new future and a lot of new skills.

People who survive personal and widespread economic downturns often emerge from the experience with more self-confidence and a wicked sense of humor. Tackling a downturn with a relaxed and positive attitude is probably the best way to come out stronger than you went in.

If you have been spending money on things to improve your quality of life, an economic downturn can spur you on to discover less expensive ways of improving your quality of life. You may even gain the immense satisfaction of getting your finances under control and living modestly with a lean, but balanced budget.

There have been times in the past when I briefly enjoyed that state of economic health, but I lost control once times got good and luxuries became "necessities". With the current economic downturn, I am relearning the lessons of the past, hopefully for the last time.

An economic downturn upsets the rules and often changes the playing field. This can expose opportunities for those ready to take advantage of them. Small businesses have the agility to create new services and products quickly when opportunities appear.

A family affected by an economic downturn can ask for the government to intervene or it can learn to share resources such as food, shelter, and transportation with others while looking for opportunities for employment and ways of doing business on a small scale.

My family and many others did just this for many years when I was a small child in the 1930’s. Families and friends learned the value of cooperative activities because there was no other real alternative. Everybody seemed to get something to eat and had a place to sleep, even if on someone’s couch.

What I remember most was the laughter and the music at family get-togethers. It seemed as if bonds were formed in those lean years that lasted until good times arrived in the late 1950’s and the families spread out over increasingly wide areas.

I think we have the opportunity now to recover the skills of coping with hard times by working together to share knowledge. We have the advantage of being interconnected through the Internet so useful knowledge will spread much faster than it ever did before.

Money saving tips, bargain opportunities, and employment opportunities will be found through Google and Craigslist and a host of specialized websites. Ebay traffic may double. A world of new opportunities may await us in the coming months.

I think that qualifies as an upside.

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0 Responses to Can there be an upside to an economic downturn?

  1. Joseph Campbell, who spent the Great Depression reading, said that bad economic times were good for the arts and culture – because smart, talented people may have a lot of spare time and energy when there are no jobs.

  2. Mouse says:

    Someone once told me “It isn’t what happens to you that matters, it’s how you react that really counts”

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