- It has almost become a spectator sport, seeing who will be out next with an even more pessimistic forecast about the economic doom which awaits us. It is inappropriate for the time of year, and tiresome in its intensity, “I told you so; we’ve blown the boom, its back to where we were 20 years ago or worse”.
- There’s no going back there, and while we are in a difficult place now, and perhaps for the next couple of years, ours is a resilient country, tourism is a fantastic industry, and both will not only survive, but will prosper and grow in the future.
- The great American humorist and cartoonist James Thurber wrote during the great depression, “Next to reasoning, the greatest handicap to the optimum development of Man lies in the fact that this planet is just barely habitable. Its minimum temperatures are too low, and its maximum temperatures too high. Its day is not long enough, and its night is too long. The disposition of its water and earth is distinctly unfortunate (the existence of the Mediterranean Sea in the place where we find it is perhaps the unhappiest accident in the whole firmament). These factors encourage depression, fear, war, and lack of vitality. They describe a planet, which is by no means perfectly devised for the nurturing or for the perpetuation of a higher intelligence.”
So the world’s not perfect. The point is, if you dwell too long and too deep on the dark side, you can start believing that recovery and a prosperous future are unattainable. That is demonstrable nonsense, and greatly diminishes the ingenuity and intelligence of man to find solutions, even to the greatest problems.
- So to those who may think we are in a dark place now, let us remember what a dark place really looked like in the 1970s and 80s:
– Annual inflation bounced around from 1976 to 1985 from a low of 8.6% to a high of 21% over that period.
– Unemployment averaged about 16% throughout after allowing for the tens of thousands who emigrated each year.
– Mortgage interest rates moved about between 9% and 18% for most of the 70s and 80s.
– There were 5 general elections in the 80s, including 3 in an 18 month period during 1981/82.
– Graphic details of the civil unrest in Northern Ireland were broadcast daily into our main markets.
– There were 2 major oil crises in 1973 and 1979, where long queues formed for hours just to get maybe a gallon of petrol.
– There were no budget airlines or high-speed ferries.
– The only spa product in Ireland was a foul tasting water in Lisdoonvarna (which apparently is good for you).
– The World Wide Web had not been invented.
– Our national dual carriage network extended for almost a mile, from White’s Cross to Cabinteely.
– Bono hadn’t been discovered yet.
- So when you are down and thinking, it was never this bad, forget it. It was much worse, but it was followed by recovery and almost 2 decades of tremendous tourism growth. And tremendous growth will once again follow this temporary setback.
- Muhammad Ali was supreme in his sport, despite the very many barriers put in his way. But was he ever downbeat about the future? Never. He once described his philosophy thus, “A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”
- So quit brooding, and start crowing.
- Happy Christmas to all.