"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself", FDR said at his inauguration in Washington on March 4 1933 during a time in which the depression had reached its depth and the state economy was at its most defenceless.
In the year 2011, we are living in a world of fear on many levels – economically, politically, socially and environmentally. Events such as the euro-zone sovereign debt problems, Greece on the verge of default, the US flirting with defaulting its national debt for the first time in history, the threat of a double dip recession, the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the horrific killings in Norway have heightened this fear globally. All these events paint a very bleak picture.
Around this time last year, Chris Isidore wrote an article for CNN called ‘Fear economy’, arguing that "even though we’re a long way from the Great Depression, uncertainty about the economy is proving pretty scary and a major drag on the recovery". A year on and there is still much uncertainty in the air. Investors’ judgements are clouded by this ‘what if’ factor – or the “fear of the unknown”.
Things do not look so sparkling for most of us. So what is the solution? Is there any hope or words of wisdom to help guide us and lift our spirits? Hollywood has created fictional superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, and Daredevil who are portrayed as fearless characters that protect us from evil and make us feel safe. Daredevil himself is even known as ‘The man without fear’. Is this a solution to ensure we live without fear? Does the world just need a superhero?
Well, one thing for sure is we do not live in the fanciful world of Hollywood. Our only hope lies with the real men/women who are responsible for decisions made, whether economically or socially. As Spiderman himself put it: “With great power comes great responsibility”. People in high places of responsibility set the mood as to the way other people react and can have a massive impact on individual/national/global events that take place. It’s up to the President Obamas of our world to eliminate this ‘fear’ ingrained in us and make us feel safe.
I quoted at the beginning of this blog "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Fear is what is driving the economy into turmoil or even makes people not want to wake up in the morning as they fear being assaulted, mugged, knifed etc. We need to redefine fear and make sure we overcome it, rather than vice versa. Here’s to a ‘fearless’ future.