Saturday, December 31, 2011

The extremes of uncertainty

I was doing research on country-specific risks this past week and was met with what seems to be more and more commonplace. It used to be that we didn’t know if GDP would raise by 2% or 2.5% - now the question is if there is going to be inflation or deflation – that’s a lot more uncertainty being brought into the equation! I’m seeing this more and more in almost all facets of life. More uncertainty in global economics, global politics, food production (is there enough wheat this year?), entertainment (who is next years star? In the 80s, the answer was always Michael Jackson), etc.

Uncertainty itself isn’t really what stands out to me, as that’s been evident for a while. However, the (un?)conscious reactions of people to this increased uncertainty has been interesting. There’s one group that chooses to believe the world is getting worse, another that refuses to believe there is anything happening outside of business as usual, and a third group that is in ‘wait and see’ mode. Now of course there’s many more groups out there (including the folks who’ve seen this coming for many years and are working on long-term solutions based on inner clarity), but these seem to be major categories I see.

Between the first two groups, you’re getting bigger and bigger shifts in behavior over time. In the former group (the folks that think the world is degrading), you’re seeing increasing levels of choices made for the ‘greater good’ along with an increasing disdain for those who don’t see what they do. On the flip side, there’s people who are stepping up their business-as-usual habits as they look to show that nothing is amiss (think Palin’s reality show). At some point, this uneasy coexistence is going to break down. In the meantime, the question is which path are each one of us treading and how can we become more clear about our choices in an unbiased way?

Also, happy new year :)

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