Punchinello’s Chronicles

July 25, 2009

Economic Tsunami or Storm Surge?

Filed under: View from the Bottom — Punchinello @ 1:42 am
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been walking along the metaphorical beach of our local economy. There seems to be a lot of flotsam and jetsam, wreckage, and empty things lying in mud. It’s as if the many businesses and jobs are boats, and they’re stuck in many square acres of wet sea bottom. We could say the ocean is the “ocean of life,” and that makes me wonder.

Am I seeing the aftermath of a storm? Did a hurricane come ashore, wiping out many businesses and taking out many jobs? Or is this the initial retreat of the sea being sucked out from the shore in preparation for a tsunami?

It’s really a matter of perspective, I think. When you look at the economy one way, it would seem that we’ve weathered a severe recession but things are looking better. It’s only that the tide is out, and we had an unusually high surge. The wreckage is there, sure, but we can now move in an begin the cleanup and rebuilding.

But if you look at things differently, then it reminds me of how the water suddenly disappears. You’re sitting there on the beach, when all of a sudden, you look up and there’s no ocean. There are weeds, pieces of wood, flopping fish, snails, and mud everywhere, all the way out to the horizon. It’s a creepy feeling because even a low tide wouldn’t suck ALL the water off the beach!

That’s when you pick up everything and run like hell! There’s a tsunami coming from just off shore, and it’s pulled all the water into its massive waves. When it comes rushing back, it’ll be many stories high, traveling at very high speeds. And it’ll run right over everything in its path, going in as far as it will before the energy runs out.

It’s only in the in-between time that it’s hard to tell. Except for one thing. You get a storm surge in the middle of a storm. You know you’re in a storm, and you know the high water is a direct result of that storm. A tsunami, on the other hand, can easily show up on a nice sunny afternoon.

So did we have a storm?

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