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The 2009 MOST of the Year for Business: The Economy

Wall Street Bull2009 has seen a severe and abrupt economic tailspin, and while there were certainly many great candidates and event for our 2009 Business Most, ultimately is all comes back our 2009 selection; the US Economy.

In large part economies have two factors that drive them (in my estimation) – the real facts and people’s impressions of those facts. The real facts are all not good no matter what metrics are employed, but the prognosis for 2010 seems to live somewhere between ‘it will get worse before it gets better’ and ‘we finally seem to have hit the floor.’ Either prognosis seems to have done nothing to help the average person’s sentiments in terms of where they believe our economy currently lives.

We considered employment as another great contender, and yes those stats are appalling, but somehow that seemed to come back to a function of the economy.

Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner and Larry Summers were also considerations given their own prominent roles but at least with Geithner in particular, it seems like this is a mess he’s inherited. Further, this mess all seems to be so much bigger than any of these guys.

Bernie Madoff was another possibility, although he seems more 2008 than 2009. Also he seems to be the exception rather than the rule as the bulk of the people likely responsible for this mess still walk the streets freely.

Our banking system was also another great contender – 140 banks so far taken over by the FDIC this year alone. In large part these banking failures revolve around housing and home mortgages.

The once proud automotive industry also gets a nod – this is a sector of America that has been bleeding for decades, but what has happened with both GM and Chrysler is unprecedented – I’m hard pressed to see how either of these companies will be able to rebound in the long term.

Sovereign wealth was another contender, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is really more of a story for 2010 rather than 2009.

Of course in the category of greed, maybe Loyd Blankfein – the CEO of Goldman Sachs should have been our selection – it appears that months after accepting federal TARP money on top of the AIG bailout which saved the firm billions, Goldman is poised to deliver on a record bonus pool estimated to be north $16 billion dollars.

But ultimately most of the above comes back to our economy and how we as a nation regulate wealth. Hopefully come the end of 2010 we’ll all be championing a different and more positive story. Possibly in 2010 we’ll have having acted on a few items regarding fiscal responsibility, savings versus credit and possibly even some regulation. Then again, maybe not.

One think I think most of us can agree on though was that 2009 was not a banner year for business.

Posted on Saturday, December 19th, 2009 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “The 2009 MOST of the Year for Business: The Economy”

  1. czander says:

    It’s not about Greed

    There are between 7 and 14 articles and blogs a day all identifying the crisis of 2008, CEO behavior and bankers bonuses as all about greed. We are quickly moving towards an accusatory cultural position that if one gets too much (a relative term) then one is filled with greed. It is similar to the diagnosis of narcissism that has been grossly misused and misapplied. Misused to the degree where if one is selfish or lacks empathy or takes more, one is called a narcissist. This places the accuser in the position of blaming those who have more and fails to understand what motivates them to engage in this behavior.
    What brought about the banking crisis in America was not about greed, it was about the pathological need to increase one’s status. Studies have demonstrated that high levels of testosterone do not necessarily lead to a macho man hell bent on being aggressively consumptive but a man excessively focused on status, filled with envy, and an overwhelming desire to have what the other guy has. Consider this: At a “gin and tonic” party at a mansion of a successful banker an attendee reported the following. “After I got my drink our host led us to his greenhouse and showed his magnificent collection of valuable and delicate orchids. It was his hobby and he would travel the world collecting rare and exotic plants. Upon return to the house I could not help but notice two sets of women; an old or original group of wives at one end of the large room and a group of trophy wives at the other end, nervously eyeing each other.” What drives these men to engage in one-upmanship is not greed — but one-up-man ship status. They see their colleagues with a more expensive car, they start thinking about getting a one, they see a colleague with a jet and they have to have one too, they see a colleague with a beauty and they want one. Houses, cars, wives, art, orchids, watches, office, etc.; these are status symbols and for these men they are exceedingly important. They become a measure of their self worth. The parties, the country club, the university club, the yacht club, and the workplace are all places where executives parade their stuff. Many suggest this is nothing more than narcissistic characters impressing others to obtain love. But this may not be the case. They live and work within a culture that is status driven and issues of exclusion and inclusion are associated with the attainment of status. In this culture those who have more create envy and they aggressively engage in the struggle for ever higher status. The “my d–k is bigger than yours,” is ever present. The truth of the matter is underneath they believe they will always an inadequate d–k.