Austerity is a funny word. It’s oddly reminiscent of some kind of unorthodox castration, and in practice it probably is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word Austerity comes to us through Middle English via Old French from the Latin austerus, then from really, really old Greek austçros meaning ‘severe'. Which in ancient times meant not so much humus on your souvlaki.
What a great and fantastic circle of a journey this word has travelled then. It sprung up in ancient Greece and ended up back in that Olympian land in this present time to re-emerge as a word that may yet prove to bring down the world’s banks along with that overblown conglomerate of limp-wristed hand flappers, the European Union.
So with all thoughts of economic Armageddon aside it’s now worth seriously considering if spending time and money responding to tenders is worth it or not. Strong evidence now exists that our new friend ‘austerity’ is a pain in the very cheeks we use for sitting.
Economic austerity is like prodding an oyster and watching whether it contracts its fringe, to see if it is alive and therefore still fresh. The oyster shrinks in defensive response, the happy eater scoffs, end of oyster.
Take this quote: “fiscal consolidation, when estimated using fiscal actions motivated by deficit reduction, has contractionary [sic] effects on economic activity.” That is not from some cloth-cap commie peacenik, it comes straight from a 2011 Research Department paper from the IMF called New International Research into Expansionary Austerity. Hello out there. Ooops, we got it wrong, again. In the parlance of today’s text message generation, “soz”.
So what the economy really needs, according to the International Monetary Fund’s top researchers is not more handbrake but a little more gas. Ironic really, since doubling gas prices was arguably the initial cause of the world’s current mess. Sure you can blame it on American mortgage defaulters, but petrol doubling was the reason they couldn’t pay.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Well it might be. But let’s at least look on the bright side. In the last three years anyone with a job has had lower mortgage rates than ever before and a will to save money and comply with the daily propaganda that we should all reduce debt (mainly because the banks ran out of money to lend us) and live under the banner of austerity in order to get the business back on track.
Well surprise, surprise, it doesn’t work. The big chiefs say so. It’s now time to stop shuffling feet and kicking stones while the business ticks on. The clock is slowing down, and Greece is going to drag us down with the Eurozombies if we’re unlucky. The time is ripe to take back the economy from the luddites in charge and use our own ingenuity to invest in future business. Recently the government held its first Meet the Buyer Event and by all accounts this was very well attended. The trick now is to transform that kind of enthusiasm into real sales for local business. It’s time us Kiwis started acting like our brilliant sports people. Don’t tell us the odds, tell us what the goal is and we’ll show the rest of the world that Kiwis are winners. We find a way, we’ll bust a gut, we’ll think of things that no one else has and we’ll beat the rest of the world as they lie comatose in a mess of their own making.
Let’s hire more sales staff, increase advertising budgets, borrow as much as we can, re think the marketing campaign, pitch for more big business, open the wallet and let the moths fly out, before it’s too late. Let’s spend our last penny on re-investment before the world crashes around us. And if it does crash, we’ll be the first and fittest to rebuild it.