Thursday, April 30, 2009

Panic mode

Seth Godin's blog is one of the few I read virtually every day. Though it's primarily focused on marketing and business, he manages to sneak in quite a bit of ordinary everyday commonsense into his posts. Well, 'sneak' might be understating it; often he publishes posts that are plain commonsense.
I don't always agree with his posts, and I found his latest book, Tribes, not that exciting, even though the concept is worth a thought.
But the post for the 28th April (Might as well panic) I agree with entirely. There's a mindset now in the world that if there's a possibility of something going wrong, or even if something does go wrong, we should all rush around like headless chickens. YK2 was the prime example, and the World Trade Centre attack caused so much panic that the US went to war over it - without any real justification. Then we had the bird flu pandemic. Pandemic? How many people actually died in that pandemic? Far fewer than are killed on the roads of many major countries each day.
Along came the RECESSION. Well, that's supposedly what it was. Yes, I know people have lost jobs, and there's a great furore over the behaviour of the banks and CEOs and their billions, but in fact, this is not a crisis like the Great Depression, and may well not get to be. For the most part it's a sorting out of the poor financial management of a number of large companies.
And our latest cause for panic is swine flu. It's dreadful that even a few people have died of this in the world, but again, the actual number of people who have died have been miniscule in terms of the population (or compared to the Great Flu that followed the First World War). I agree with Godin that it seems in the nature of human beings to panic. My suspicion is that this is a fairly recent phenomenon, aided by the media needing something to get excited about.
Godin ends his post by saying: "We have enough caution. We don't need an abundance of caution. That's too much."
Mr Godin, I concur.
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