Time Is More Cyclic Than You Think

Do you read the news? Are you the kind of person who keeps himself abreast of the latest happenings around you and the world beyond? If so, have you lost all hope yet?

You can pick up any news paper, open any online article or switch on any news show on TV and all you can find are life sucking hopelessness. The economy is slumping, unemployment is rampant, infrastructure is crumbling and the national debt is beyond human comprehension. Young people cannot find jobs and old people cannot retire since their 401k has been wiped out. You hear about the polar ice caps melting on an accelerated rate and oil and gas prices, for their part, are through the roof. Global food shortages are starving the poor while there is rampant obesity crisis in the western world. Such events of tragedy are enough to drain the optimism out of anyone and we have not even considered social and political unrest in the middle east and global terrorism yet. These kinds of news, which are being blasted out of every single news media and opinion outlets, paint an absolutely dire picture for today and, worse, they proclaim with ominous certainty that the future can only get bleaker unless something drastic happens. Anyone can be forgiven for being completely depressed about the present and future after heeding to these predictions from this so called experts.

Well, turns out, all of these predictions have been made before. Not in some random, obscure pamphlet of the past, but from the same old main stream media. I found an interesting post today in http://www.fool.com which showed some of the quotes from news articles of the past. All of them, of course, paint a bleak portrait about various things, like national debt and unemployment. They are all from late seventies and eighties – during the times of, seemingly, political and economical turmoil. Here is a quote about lost jobs

“More than 2 million of the unemployed had been without jobs for more than six months. And many of them, perhaps hundreds of thousands, face the prospect of never being recalled because their jobs had been eliminated.”
– Williamson Daily News, Dec. 19, 1982

I guarantee you, you can pick up any news article from this week, and it is certain you will find a very similar version of this quote in most of them. The quote is from 1982 which was right before the golden ’90s when the US experienced the longest stretch of sustained economic prosperity in its history. Its astonishing how bad these guys are in thinking short time. But wait. Here is my most favorite quote:

‘[The Internet is] the equivalent of a fad business right now,’ … ‘The reason everyone’s doing it is not for now,’ …, ‘but everybody believes that in three years everyone in America is going to have their own personal computer and be surfing the Web.'”
– New York Times, Aug. 20, 1995

That’s from the fucking New York Times!! They are calling the ‘Internet’ as a fad and that people owning a personal computer and browsing the internet is inconceivable. Oddly enough, a new version of the New York Times iPhone App was just recently released in the iTunes App store. People don’t own just a personal computer, these days, but they also own a mobile computer, work computer, tablet computer and, soon, cloud computer. Clearly these guys don’t get it right when they try to predict the future.

There is a saying “Days are long, years are short”. What may seem like a drastic scenario for the short term usually turns out to be fairly insignificant over a period of time. It is true that the issues that we are collectively facing today are serious and they require our critical attention. But they are not as grim as they seem. Slowly but surely we will figure out a way and things will even out again. People have gone through these things before and, as always, time cures all ails. So chin up, its going to be alright.

Hit up the Fool Link here and see other great comments that, uncannily, fit today’s scenarios about things like declining US importance, foreign competition, rampant deficit and impending federal bankruptcy. Its uncanny and a bit unnerving.

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