We all have felt this recession and its negative effect on us, our friends and the ones we love. It is perhaps the most defining situation in our lives today. If you are fortunate to have your job or business, you know someone who has lost theirs. If you have lost your job or your health coverage, or seen the dream of your own business turn into a nightmare of debt and sense of failure, it is hard to see beyond these harsh realities.
So why does the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010 feel so bad, and what might lie ahead?
Simply put, this is a reorganizational recession. It is not like any recession of the past 25 years. Humanity is in transition between two ages. We are leaving the Information Age and entering the Shift Age. When this happens, there is a period of economic disruption as the old order gives way to the new order. That is what is going on now.
If you are old enough to remember the 1970s, you will recall it was a very disruptive time. Things happened that we had never experienced before. High unemployment and high inflation at the same time? Uh, let's call that "stagflation." We had to invent a new word to describe what was going on. In hindsight, it is clear what the 1970s were. In the 1960s, America and all the developed countries of the world were Industrial Age countries. ("What's good for General Motors is good for America and vice versa.") By the 1980s, we found ourselves in the Information Age of PCs, cable TV, communication satellites and cell phones. So the decade in between, the 1970s, was the transition between the Industrial Age and the Information Age.
We are currently going through a similar time, though it will be much shorter, lasting around five years, from 2006 to 2011.
If you think back over the past three years, you can see it is the time when things got rough economically. There was rapidly changing technology, and we started to communicate in new ways. How many of you were on Twitter, Facebook or texting three or even two years ago? How many of you had an smartphone? How many of you thought that your home would always go up in value? All of this is much more change and disruption than in the few years before simply because we are in this transition between two ages.