At the time of this writing, newspaper headlines are all tremendously negative. However, if you look beyond the obvious, you will be able to see the seeds of the accelerated economic growth that will take place in the next years.
Learn to disregard the negative bias
Indeed, in some areas of the world, the economy
is stagnating, inflation is rising and unemployment remains high. As a
result, millions of people are seeing their lives disrupted. Those who
have recently lost their jobs may have the feeling that finding a new
position is going to take extensive efforts and a very long time.
stock markets are showing daily fluctuations over 3%, an enormous range
by historical standards. Some investors have liquidated their holdings
in despair and incurred a substantial loss. The current levels of market
volatility are testing the faith of the most devoted believers in a
better economic future.
Stay away from the gloom-and-doom
The psychological pressures that
accompany these events are considerable. The gloom-and-doom atmosphere
that dominates conversations inevitably influences people's decisions.
Purchases are delayed and changes are feared. When the future looks
dark, hesitation seems safer than action.
all these threats and uncertainties, I remain massively optimistic about
the future of the world economy. I am convinced that growth will soon
resume strongly and take us to higher levels of prosperity. On which
facts do I base my optimistic conviction? Are my positive expectations
justified by statistical trends?
There are lots of positive economic data
Yes, in fact there are lots of
positive economic data out there if you care to look for them, and not
only in China, India and Singapore. Freight volumes are growing and the
same can be said of the number of new vehicles sold. More car sales
means more steel production and more jobs. For every negative newspaper
headline, you can find plenty of data that predict an upwards trend.
so, my purpose today is not to engage a statistical discussion. Facts
can be measured, but opportunities need to be discovered. Improvements
are what you get when you apply creativity to problems.
predicting the future, structural factors are more reliable than
isolated details. If you know a man's character, you will be able to
foretell his destiny with greater accuracy than if you know everything
he did during the last two days.
Human creativity, or rather, the
increased opportunity to exercise it, provides us a solid ground for
forecasting a bright economic future. Like a man's character, the level
of personal initiative and inventiveness in the world changes only
slowly, but one it gets as good as it is now, chances are that it will
stay this way for many years.
Three reasons for optimism here and now
My overall optimism is based on the following factors, that you will find no difficulty in observing yourself:
Emigration has become easier than at any previous time in history:
Millions of people are moving every year from one place to another to
take advantage of the expanded opportunities to exercise their talents.
emigration takes place within the same country (between two cities),
but very often, it involves crossing the border between countries. As
travel costs continue to decrease and regulations become more flexible,
companies benefit from the influx of new talent and workers can find
jobs that offer improved economic prospects. In addition to the economic
advantage, the contact with other cultures also tends to make people
more tolerant and open.
 Artists can now offer their creations
directly to millions of consumers. The tide has turned for creative
individuals. If you are a musician, you can now develop your career
without having to wait for a record company to give you a break. The
same goes for writers, painters, illustrators, composers, and
Even new film-makers can now make their movies at a
fraction of what it used to cost a few years ago. With the help of
low-cost digital cameras, free editing software, and internet
distribution, many wonderful films are getting made nowadays, films that
would have never seen the daylight in previous decades.
cost of starting a new business has never been so low in history. In
some cases, all you need is an innovative idea and the determination to
build something from scratch. We live in a world where vision and
commitment are more important that the size of your bank account. Money
and other resources can always be borrowed if you know how to apply them
The endless possibilities offered by the internet
have unleashed human creativity to levels unknown before. You no longer
need to relocate in order to have your products designed, manufactured,
and sold in other countries. Video-conferences with clients and
suppliers all over the world have become virtually free-of-charge. The
cost of market intelligence has also been drastically reduced.
is even better, the time-line for starting a new business has been
compressed and shifted. Low-cost software applications will routinely
spare new entrepreneurs hundreds of hours of work, and the work that
still needs to be done, they can do it during the evenings and weekends.
Stay alert and seize the opportunities
before in history have millions of people enjoyed the opportunity of
starting their own business while they can still keep their day job. A
lower risk for starting new companies means that more companies will be
started, making overall economic growth almost inevitable.
the three reasons above, I believe that the world economy will continue
to grow strongly in the next decade. Of course, the situation will not
be equally positive in all countries and in all currencies, but so what?
Creativity will always flow to places where opportunities exist and
this is the way it should be. Stop listening to negative reports and
learn to look beyond the headlines. Things will continue to get better
overall as entrepreneurs seize the immense economic possibilities of the
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by jnorton under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]