Recession is not all bad and we can learn from the history of past recessions. Recessions happen because we resist change and persist with habits that have become harmful. With recession, the economic growth for certain things comes to an end and the receding economy makes us painfully aware of exposures and areas of neglect that need our attention and responsible effort.
It has often been observed that the fashion of women’s hemlines moves up and down with the economy. Over this past winter hemlines on evening wear worn by fashion leaders dramatically hit the floor. But everyday wear for most women in America today is jeans or pants and dresses and skirts are not normally seen. So what happens this time? The fashion trend seems to suggest modesty and responsibility. Does this mean that tight jeans are out and the relaxed fit is in? Will more men start wearing suits and fully brimmed hats again as in previous recessions? Long dresses and coats and big hats are not convenient for driving cars, but they are ideal for waiting at the bus stop and walking on foot. Will walking and taking public transit increase during the recession?
It has been said also that people eat healthier diets during recessions and that national health improves. This is a very good thing, and it is much overdue because so many Americans are overweight and don’t exercise enough. Better diet is adopted during recessions because more meals are prepared from scratch. Although less convenient, home cooking is more economical than serving packaged foods or dining out. As more food is prepared in the home, more attention is paid to the quality of food ingredients. Instead of high-calorie fast food with artificial ingredients, healthier, locally grown food is desired. More people are even buying seeds and planting their own gardens. The more that good meals are planned and become a relaxed social focus of the day, the more family values could improve. Can you picture Michele Obama planting a vegetable garden at the White House for her family's use? Yes, this is happening, and the President himself will be expected to pull weeds. Food is of crucial importance to health and maybe it’s good to have a real involvement in how it is grown and prepared.
One of the big questions during the current recession is whether economic stimulus should be given to the big corporations that are dramatically failing. Shouldn't these corporations be left to fail because they didn't pay attention the economic patterns and they ignored the indicators of necessary change? Didn’t the leaders of these corporations fail to keep their corporations secure? If the corporate leaders failed, then why should those leaders still receive fat bonuses, paid for by government? Aren't these the people who some Canadian politicians in the 1970s identified as "corporate welfare bums?" If these corporate leaders don’t get their bonuses and want to leave their current positions for positions elsewhere that they believe will pay them better, why not let them just leave? Isn't it only by the failure of irresponsible corporate governance and policy that the more responsible governance and policies, which are more in tune with the current economic needs, will have a chance to succeed?
Are environmental pressures are at the root of the recession? Doesn't the global economy need to urgently create and introduce now the programs and products that have been neglected, and should have been developed for sustainability? There seems to have been a profound shift away from the policies and politics of claiming and securing scarce resources, which is the old unsustainable way, to developing alternative and more sustainable resources. Why stimulate the continuation of large corporate growth when that growth is unsustainable? Why not restrict that growth and channel investment into the emergent economy of sustainable development?
Recently, there seems to be renewed interest in smaller houses and higher population densities. It appears that more people actually want tiny houses, whether they live in the city or in the country. Tiny houses are more affordable. If the community is planned accordingly, small houses could allow people to live closer to where they work, shop, and do other activities outside the home. People could walk or bicycle to these places, as well as to transportation nodes that connect then to other communities. Don't family values in the home need to be sustained by strong social networks outside the home? Moving housing closer together could strengthen social and community bonds. With the Internet and mobile phones, we have new electronic means of interacting with family, friends, and business contacts, but there’s really no substitute for actual face-to-face interactions. Isn't it better for people to be nearer to the people they would normally socialize with?