The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Bailout or buy some time while industrial disruption occurs for auto, banks and telco sectors

I have found myself reading more economics blogs over the last couple of years, trying to understand better what is going on and the impacts of the banking crisis.

This blog, StumblingandMumbling is worth the subscription. It is insightful, and contrary enough to provoke thinking. It also happens to articulate things that I cannot help thinking about.

Recession or Inflation targeting

2. The cost of recession isn’t just unemployment hitting a few hundred thousand, but the fear of unemployment hitting millions.

But this fear exists even in normal times, because the job destruction rate is so high. The 25,000 jobs that’ll be lost when Woolies closes represents just half of one average week of job losses between 1997 and 2005.

And what recession?:

The other day, I tried to do some Christmas shopping. I went into six shops looking for a Wii fit. All were out of stock. When I get home, I get a Barclaycard statement telling me my credit limit has been raised.

What’s more, the welfare benefits of lower inflation – savings on shoe leather costs and on tax distortions – don’t stop at zero inflation. Friedman, remember, thought the optimal inflation rate was negative.

The facts are that few of us understand all this. Its all to easy to insist on bailout packages and economic stimulus. Times of change make everything very personal.

Some thoughts:

We are in a time of industrial revolution. Many businesses that have prospered through the last 50 years of relative boom times, did so because consumer demand exceeded their need to innovate. Where are the cars that do 150 miles per gallon.Where are the payment systems that seamlessly shift money easily simply and cheaply to merchants, people or internationally. Where are the mobile devices that work on primarily data plans with voice as an extra.

Innovation has come erratically and in small localised pieces. Innovation has resisted peoples requests, preferring to intercept those requests with scripted call centre employees. Yet companies have no idea, institutionally, what is in the content of those conversations.

But things are changing, and that is where the industrial revolution is taking place. Internet has brought together movements in conversations, and the peoples requests are being spoken, heard, and gathering strength.

Here are three industries [auto, banking, telco] that have challenges – what will they look like in 25 years. Do they need a bailout, or temporary money to keep them in a holding pattern while industry disruptors give people what they want.

Thoughts welcome.

Written by Colin Henderson

December 5, 2008 at 22:29

One Response

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  1. […] The point of the Economist piece is that it is wrong for practices in China and other oppressive countries where Internet and new technologies are suppressed – wrong and also doomed to eventual failure. I would add in those industries that are not re-inventing itself at this time. […]

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