Friday, April 29, 2016

Why Are Americans Still Skeptical of Economy? Optimism Needed

"The world is my representation."
Americans are getting increasingly pessimistic about the economy. According to Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index Americans rated the economy -16% which is the lowest since September 2015. The problem isn't that they are pessimistic but why they are pessimistic. No one knows for sure but it is suspected that negative politics and major socio-economic shifts are causing some of the problems. Do we need to be a little more optimistic?

60% say the economy is getting worse. There could be a lot of reasons why we might think so but what seems to be jumping front are politics and major socio-economic shifts. Change brings a feeling of insecurity and stress. Helping them view change in a more positive light might make a difference in how they view their future prospects.

Americans scan their environment to understand the world around them and how that impacts their lives. They listen to the news, talk to their friends, and look at their paychecks. Their paychecks are going up and hiring is on the fast track forward but.......they are still pessimistic. How information is being fed to them might have an impact.

It seems that the political process is weighing down on their optimism. When they turn on the news and open their Internet browser they are bombarded by how bad the economy is. Each candidate in pointing out the negatives of what is going on and then showing how they are going to magically going to fix it. High on rhetoric but low on substance.

The problem is that all these doomsday arguments don't truly represent what is going on. The economy is actually doing really well but this message isn't coming through to the average person. The high minded economists are talking on an academic level about change in the economy while politicians are emphatically projecting how bad it is using "real" language. One seems to resonate more than another.

That isn't the only thing going on. There are also major shifts both locally and globally on a social and economic level. European economies are slowing while emerging economies are no longer emerging but getting closer to becoming top tier economies. One must only look at the growth of Asia into an economic powerhouse over the past decade or so to realize this.

This change is apparent as American power is challenged overseas. Whether we are talking about disputed islands or major transformation in the Middle East  things are shifting. The powerful U.S. will need to reassess its treaties and economic policies to ensure we are creating a nation of "builders" and entrepreneurs that are hungry for opportunities.We must see opportunities in change and capitalize on them.

We are also finding that our social environments are changing and we are becoming a metropolitan economy whereby where you are from isn't as important as what you can do. Look around any university campus or technology company and you will see very quickly that diversity is at work. For some...this can be a little scary as people redefine their place in society.

American's are not a pessimistic group by nature but pessimism sells. That is what people hear from their leaders and that comes to feed our natural fears of change. As a people we need direction based on what is actually going on in the world to navigate the big economic and social changes that are already in process. Fear might sell but optimism and clear direction give us the strength to rise to new challenges.

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