Christian Long

John Gerzema: The Post-Crisis Consumer

In TED Talks on May 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Reflection by GABRIELLA B.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

John Gerzema: The Post-Crisis Consumer

In a world full of fantastic stories of economic upturn just around the corner, complete economic collapse being just upon us and other unreliable and inconsistent reports on the state of the US economy, how can anyone accurately gauge where our current economic situation is taking us?

Well in John Gerzema’s talk we get a down to earth look at the state of our economy in words we, the consumer, can actually hope to comprehend. No more unpredictable stock market figures or vague predictions on the housing markets. All you have to do is look at last week’s stock market ‘glitch’ and you have to ask yourself,

Can on ‘mistake’ cause the entire market to skyrocket and plunge without so much as a by your leave? And if it can, how can it still hoodwink perfectly cautious and level headed people into thinking they’re making a ‘smart’ investment.

However in this talk we get a humorous glimpse at this nebulous thing we call the ‘economy’. Gerzema provides an optimistic look at the economic crisis we all aided. Research shows that slowly but surely Americans are changing their life styles to conform to the state of the economy. People are beginning to live frugally, and buy what lasts. In a consumer driven economy of instant gratification, we are learning that it’s not the stuff we have that is a mark of prosperity but our ability to ride out these uncertain times and in response to that we are actually beginning to save money.

So what does this mean for the consumer?

It means that we have the ability to demand better rather than more. Consumers are favoring companies that follow the values and ethics they believe in. The amazing thing, is companies are actually changing their methods to better connect to mindful consumption.

Companies are looking to be transparent. What I mean by that is that they want their customers to know that not only will they be there for today and tomorrow, but they’re sticking around in the right way. We are seeing ethics and fair play making a comeback.

In response to rising prices people are looking into durable living. They are hanging on to what they have. Rather than updating and renovating and upgrading they are repairing, and making due. They are looking to other consumers to find brands to trust. We are finding opportunity in crisis, the opportunity to force big business to be open, because when everyone can see what’s going on, you find a surprisingly drastic drop in fanciful spending and the like.

This kind of change can only be for the better. So perhaps if we step back and look at the whole picture this economic down turn has stripped us of what, in all honesty, we didn’t really need.

So, maybe you should think twice before you choose to super-size it.

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