Many have offered their ideas about what will happen in 2008. Many predict a long-term recession. While
on first blush it appears that is the case, there are other indicators that point in a much different direction, especially
as it relates to the recruiting industry.
As the 2007 yearend financial and economic indicator reports filtered through to the public; things
looked bleak. Layoff and unemployment numbers were up. Indicators were that hiring would slow and that was a precursor of
a looming recession. Projections for new jobs creation was that the openings would be there but fewer than last year. Housing
starts were not only down but the spectre of foreclosures due to predatory lending tactics of just a few years ago are hitting
the housing and construction industries. Also indicia of recessionary times. Bankruptcies threaten to unravel whatever semblance
of stability there once was. Collapse.
In the midst of all of this, President Bush proposed to address the U.S.
economic situation by addressing the nation. His talk was about short-term adjustments in order to bring sense and sanity
to the landscape in spite of stock market downslides in reaction to current news. IT stocks, the most sensitive of the industries
on The Street, also showed decline in response to the early forecasts of slippage and recession. And that was the industry
(along with pharmaceuticals) that seemed to suffer the greatest amount of layoffs at the end of the year from beginning November
to end of December 2007.
Heroic as they have been, unfortunately, each time Bush has made economic adjustments to bring normalcy
to the economy, the remedies have been short-term and limited in effectiveness. And since they're artificial manipulations
with the economic forces made with limited understanding of the long-term effects, again, their effectiveness has gone wanting
-- as well as The Nation.
Some tactics Bush has used in the past are creating a necessity for armed forces in order to remove
inflated unemployed numbers. This type of maneuver, as we have seen, has a short-term effect of balancing the economic forces.
But it also needs to be stoked, repeatedly, in order to maintain the balance. Those who <i>do</i> return home
have solid work experience and good work ethics brought about by solid military discipline and training. They've had training
in specialized areas. Unfortunately, many are returned to the front after a short three or four months of being back home.
Thus, their conditioning to war zone mentality and reactions are on the ready and post traumatic stress syndrome is a constant
danger over the long haul. No matter how qualified they may be, our armed services personnel need more time under normal conditions.
Other tactics Bush has used in the past are adjusting the interest rate, which again, had a short-term
curative effect as well as adjusting the value of the dollar in order to encourage its use and strength on foreign soils.
Again, this is not only <a href="http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_viewpoints_stimulus_20080124">having limited
effectiveness</a>, it is now becoming the antithesis of what is desired. The U.S. dollar is extremely weak overseas.
Some project that its soft condition will drive up domestic oil prices and make domestic prices generally less desirable for
the average person.
Bush now proposes tax cuts that will put a whopping $800 back into taxpayer hands this year. And this
$800 (or $67 per month for the year) will spur the needed spending that the economy requires to bounce back to its usual resilience.
Okay. That and the increase in the minimum wage will go a long way toward helping the average American family achieve a solid
The price of gasoline and other transportation costs have increased. They've negated the increased
spending power minimum wage workers had and those people are a little worse for the increase as it became a net loss for them.
Perhaps the next minimum wage increase, scheduled for this year, will bring us closer to giving the average worker discretionary
spending power. Therefore, it has become even more difficult for workers to get to and from work. The Bush remedies are not
going to work. If they do, their effectiveness will be extremely limited.
<b>OMENS OF 2008</b>
Given the mish-mash of confusion that our government has diligently been focused on developing for
our country and economy, it was easy to survey the landscape we just discussed and see only dark clouds and harbingers of
doom. These situations are all man-made. The adjustments and responses they reflect are artificial manipulations in response
to essentially uneducated, random pulling of strings here and there. Of course there will be a response to these adjustments
but the long-term cures they propose to engender are illusory. So, as we look at the end of 2007 and the things that would
traditionally bear witness to what will occur in 2008, we find ourselves being deluded and led down a path with an unclear
and perilous destination.
Instead, let us look at some rather nontraditional things and then at the world through Viva's business
glasses, tinged with Earth Mother underpinnings. Let us consider the natural world and how things work in a give and take,
responsive mode to naturally occurring events and circumstances.
OF THE RAT</b>
In Chinese astrology, 2008 is the Year of the Rat. There are particular attributes to each of the twelve
signs of the Chinese zodiac the one that relates to the marketing side of the sign notes that "[a] Rat Year is a time of hard
work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start.
Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful.
The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find."
<a href="http://www.pacrimmarketing.com/news/200801/1319.html">Pacific Rim Marketing Group</a>.
What this means is 2008 is not going to be a year of sitting back on our laurels. That's already pretty
obvious. Banks are being bailed out by being bought up. But that then means redundancy and layoffs as the ensuing months evolve.
Where, then, will that talent be moved in order to prevent unemployment numbers from rising any higher than they are already
doing? Compounding the spectre of layoffs is the mortgage market and the threat of foreclosures that other surviving banks
are mightily attempting to avert. They're attempting to avert the foreclosures in order to avoid holding assets that are not
turning profits. They're attempting to avoid having larger numbers of homeless and those living on welfare monies instead
of paying bills and buying new and replacement product, thereby reducing inventories and encouraging investment in business
and capital building.
The possibilities are there. But it will take strategic planning and using a disciplined eye to properly
evaluate the landscape and use the correct tools to leverage what is available and exposed to as little taint as possible.
The other thing that's influencing what will happen in this year 2008 are some of the more natural
phenomena of the earth and tides. John Sumser wrote a quasi-haiku earlier this month. From his words, the concepts leapt forth
in the blinking of an eye and the vision of 2008 that I'd previously held, based on business statistics and forecasts, were
tossed aside. The thing of it was, John's "haiku" (a mere statement of the flux of Nature), when the symbolism was analyzed,
revealed a great deal. His words: "the ocean was strong and muddy at Bodega
Bay. Big storm plus new moon."
Normally, when the ocean is "strong," the tide as well as the barometric pressures are high. Momentous
things are about to happen. When waters in a bay are muddy, it indicates the deep currents are moving and stirring up the
bottom silt. Something is being readied for either being planted or released. Major changes are in the offing. A new moon
is a moon of promise -- things to come to fulfillment. And a big storm will release the pressures that are building. John
said his mind was being blown when I posted my renga to him: "Signs of birthing. Amniotic fluids will flush the terrain to
deliver up a bounteous new year -- fuller than any had expected."
Now, in correct form, it should read: "Signs of birthing. Amniotic fluids flush terrain, deliver bounteous year."
But this isn't a class on haiku or renga and these detours are for the sake of keeping your attention riveted on the message.
The message is that this will be a very good year, provided there is careful attention to details and meticulous planning.
And techniques to use in order to accomplish that is what the balance of this piece will focus on.