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Party like it’s 2009

Party like it’s 2009
by Steven Bowman

To the recently unemployed, the current economic crisis may seem like a flashback to the soup lines of The Great Depression. However, to many still working in high-paying sectors such as finance, law and technology, the credit crunch is merely a recurring news headline that could lower the cost of their next holiday. I believe that the media has it wrong. Not everyone is cutting back. In fact, some people are spending more than ever – and God bless them for it, because this is what will reinvigorate the economy, not populist subsidy politics.

Adam West is a 25 year-old investment banker in the Sydney CBD who typifies the spending trend. “Due to where the Aussie dollar trades relative to the US dollar, I have increased my discretionary spending,” he said. “No reason to lose 30% switching the currencies when I can spend it here on nice dinners.” Lucas Steel, a 28 year-old banker says that his “eating-out and nightlife expenditures seem as buoyant as ever.” Jacob Smith, 32, works in recruitment. He also just spent $450 AUD per night for a room at the Netanya Resort in Noosa, Queensland, during a recent holiday. However, due to the economic downturn, he received a discount such that his last two nights were free, reducing his actual cost to around $270 AUD per night.

Even most our friends across the Tasman Sea are spending freely. A survey by UMR Research in late January found that 60% of New Zealanders, both professionals and non-professionals, do not plan to cut back their spending at all. In fact, several key business leaders from around the globe are arriving at the same conclusion. For instance, Ericsson chairman Michael Treschow was recently quoted as saying "at the moment, even if the world is in this financial crisis, we see no tendencies that our customers are holding back".

I believe that the road to economic recovery is paved with spending by professionals. Governments around the world are continuing to pass economic stimulus packages in an attempt to get consumers to spend money. Here in Australia, the Rudd Administration passed a $41.5 billion AUD fiscal stimulus package that included $12 billion AUD of cash bonuses for low-to-middle income earners. Another way to achieve the same result is for consumers to just spend without the government telling them to do so – and that is exactly what professionals like Adam, Lucas and Jacob are doing.

It may not be a universal trend, but it is also not an isolated one: professionals are spending irrespective of the global economic crisis. Furthermore, they should be encouraged to keep doing this. Only by stimulating the economy through discretionary purchases will Australia – and the rest of the world – emerge from this financial crisis. Rather than vilifying those that still dine at Tetsuya, holiday in Bora Bora or buy an Aston Martin, we should all applaud their consumerism. The gainful employment of your neighbor – or even yourself – may depend on it.


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Green surplus

John Pratt: "We need to be spending our surplus on greening our economy."

What surplus? Rudd is racking up a $100million deficit.

You cannot serious when you suggest people donate to the Greens. You would be better off putting it in the pokies - at least the clubs could employ people.

Nero fiddling while Rome burns

Steve Bowman, encouraging everyone to spend is a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

To occupy oneself with unimportant matters and neglect priorities during a crisis

While I hate to be a party pooper, if we all continue to party and ignore our carbon footprint the party will surely end in tears.

We need to be spending our surplus on greening our economy if you have spare cash how about donating to the Greens.


Hey Steve, your idea seems pretty logical to me. After all, if consumerism is what has sustained western economies, then why wouldn't consumerism save them as well? It makes a lot of sense.

I found the finding of that UMR survey really interesting, it surprised me quite a bit. I wonder then what damage is done by the 40% that are planning to cut back?

Overall I really enjoyed your piece, and it definitely gave an insight into why capitalism can't be saved by timid approaches of simply saving money.


Spending is not as good as saving. People have been conditioned to spend too much of their income. The morality of it is not dubious, it is clearly wrong. Apart from anything, it confers power on the wrong people. So expect them to look for more, by trying to increase the conditioning. They profit by enslaving people. Giving to those who have less may be good, if they benefit from it. We can be destroyed by getting something for nothing. 

This is not an economic problem, it is a moral one. 

I knew a bloke called Anton Fred Bakunin. A bit of a hothead. Turns out he was being used by the other side. Couldn't think and was emotionally driven. Easy meat for the smart set.

Go gentle into that goodnight!

I agree totally

While the poor and wretched of the earth are being urged to eat cake it is a good strategy to urge the wealthy and privileged to eat Beluga caviar and suck down as much Dom as possible. I like this strategy because when it occurs to others that, as Bakunin once urged,  the "people will be free when the last bourgeois has been hung with the guts of the last priest" (or words to that effect) they will swing all the better for their excess weight.  

BTW - look up the Wiki entry on Bakunin.  Looove that photo.  Sorta post everything innit?

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