News is notorious for being bleak; however, the poor economy has brought headlines to a new level of depressing.
As I browse news stories I see things like: Ford sales slip as Clunkers rush ends; Detroit too poor to bury their dead; Halloween fright fest canceled, sign reads “see you when the economy is better.”
We can’t even afford to make a corn maze!? Maybe newspapers should just publish one page that reads, “The world is ending.” It would be a cost-efficient way of getting their point across.
But I believe that something has to give. There has to be some positive effect caused by the tough times of the economy. So next time the weight of the world in recession is getting you down, try to keep in mind these hidden upsides:
More Creativity: Companies like MTV, Trader Joe’s and Apple were born during recession periods. Not only will innovative companies begin to surface, but older companies will start to develop new ideas as well. As it becomes harder for companies to stay afloat, they will have to become more creative in their attempts to make us feel their product is worth our money. Companies will have a new way of thinking because we as consumers have a new way of thinking. We have become more creative in and aware of how we spend our money, and we are learning how to watch where it goes. For example, instead of eating out all the time, Americans may start to learn how to be creative and cook something for themselves.
Living Longer: As long as you are not factoring in suicide, studies have actually shown people who lived during a recession had longer lives. During the Great Depression, life expectancy increased by 6.2 years. Theories behind longer life include less stress that is created by working overtime. No more overtime means more sleep. Less work and less money means less money to spend on unhealthy things such as cigarettes and booze. Granted, the economic state may drive some to drink, so does a demanding job.
Coming Together: Having a high-stress job usually means you have no time for anything else. Workers tend to socially isolate themselves. A booming economy does not allow time for conversing with fellow humans. As miserable as this situation is, it has gotten people talking. There are support groups, blogs and dinner table discussions revolving around our world’s future. Commiserating with others is sometimes how the best relationships are forged. Just think of a horrible professor you might have had. Didn’t it bring the entire class together? Another thing to note: divorce rates are down by 40 percent. Now, many may argue that is because people simply cannot afford them anymore, but I think it’s more than that. I like to believe people are staying together because regardless of their differences, they do not want to go through this time alone.
Environmentally Conscious: Gas prices are down and there is less traffic. Who would have thought that would ever be a combination? But less traffic is bringing down air pollution, which not only helps our earth’s health but our own. This recession has also made the world rethink how we use resources and that it is about time we start using them more efficiently. There have also been creative ideas on how to make these green alternatives cost effective.
An end to a life of consumption? I believe the best thing that has come out of this depression was a wakeup call. We need to stop living the way we do, careless of the long-term effects of our short term actions. We are all guilty, not just Americans, but other countries as well, of being greedy and insatiable. We have learned to be completely ungrateful for the world we have and disrespectful towards future generation. We spent money we didn’t have and took things we didn’t need. We need to relearn what it means to live a satisfied life. The Great Depression was followed by some of the most innovative decades in America. My hope is we learn from our mistakes and flourish in the ashes of our old ways.