Nothing brings about pessimism like a recession

This recession thing is pretty confusing. The government has officially declared that we’re in a recession (I called it in August). The market tanks one day and skyrockets the next. The so-called “Black Friday” was supposed to be bad, but it wasn’t. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said the average shopper spent $372.57, up 7.2% from a year ago. And despite stories of concern last week, the so-called “Cyber Monday” likewise showed sales up spectacularly. During the first 12 hours of Cyber Monday, consumers spent 27% more this year according to Seattle-based Mercent, an online marketing company that serves the retail industry (via Online Media Daily).

But a CNN Money report today signals caution, something the press is very good at doing.

Shoppers came out in droves over the weekend, motivated by pent-up demand and deep discounts, but the surge is not expected to last.

The report notes that holiday shopping is “only” supposed to be up 2.2 percent this year.

I think that the evidence from shopping this weekend is good news, and that we ought not to be tainting it with omnipresent caveats. For crying out loud, we’ve been in a recession for the past year — something anybody with eyes and ears knew — and the issue now is recovery. Folks, I know a little bit about the subject, and you don’t recover by saying you’re not recovering. Bad news multiplied has an extremely negative impact on the public, and it needs to be tempered with truthful reporting about events that show our resilience as a people.

Shelly Palmer agrees and has a warning for the press.

While dim reports on the state of retail are all the rage, if analysts and the media continue to spin the doom and gloom, they will only become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A self-fulfilling prophecy indeed. Pessimism is contagious, but so is optimism. The status quo is being disrupted as part of the massive shift from a modernist culture to the postmodern era, and the weeping and gnashing of teeth from those who can’t — or won’t — make the shift should not be confused with a general cultural collapse.

Be of good cheer. This is not the end of the world; it’s the movement of one season to the next.


  1. remember the days when a 5 point move in the dow was really something?

    if we can just get rid of this casino economy in the next 4 years…

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