To be able to best answer the question that is on our minds, I invite you first to go through a bit soul searching and think about the following:
Are you really, truly capable of making a radical improvement change, until you are forced to in some way?
If you are a former smoker (such as myself) think about what was the trigger to convince you giving up?
If you are overweight, what makes you lose those extra kilograms?
If you feel tired all the time, morning, noon and evening, be it Monday, Wednesday or Sunday, what makes you start doing some sport?
If your body is ill, what makes you go to the doctor? When you feel pain, right?
Now, I would kindly ask you to go through an imagination exercise with me and apply the same principles to our society today.
In my view, our society, our economy, our culture, our way of life is in pain.
Is it a strong enough pain to make us go to a 'doctor' to 'fix' it?
Have we reached the bottom yet to help us see the 'light'?
Are we unhealthy, hungry, unhappy, distrustful enough to make us want a change for the better?
Not quite yet.
But when? This is the question most business people are asking themselves: when is the crisis coming? The answer is when we have reached the bottom.
We are clearly on the way down. What are the signs? Let me share a few key indicators:
Restructurings and layoffs are currently happening all over the world
The slowing down of economic growth globally and all forecasts are that this trend will continue.
The lack of trust in the political and business elites.
The questioning of international institutions that governed the world for decades, such as the UN and EU
The rush for buying double the amount of gold in 2018 compared to 2017 and the largest amount since 1967.
The ECB putting a halt last December in quantitative easing - basically 'stop printing money' and tell countries 'guys, you need to start paying back your debt'.
Digitalisation and robotisation replacing humans with technology in finance, factories, also in services.
Petrol and diesel cars being replaced with electric cars.
The era of fossil fuels being replaced with green energy generators.
The list goes on.
At micro level this is what I see:
I see a very high level of frustration when I walk the streets, sad, worried faces.
I meet more people (than ever before) who suffer of have suffered of depression or other stress-related illness such as cardiovascular or neurological.
I see students who do not have elites that are good enough to look up to.
I see young individuals who do not trust companies enough to want to work full time for them.
I see people that are earning just enough to cover their basic needs.
I see everyone not being able to see further than 6 months to 1 year into the future.
I see individuals who do not trust their fellow individuals, neighbours, co-workers, bosses, friends, sometimes not even family members. And remember, crisis is directly linked with the level of trust in the society, in the economy.
I see people struggling and fighting, but still surviving.
We are not there yet, but we are definitely preparing for a crisis.
2020 appears to be symbolic.
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