Everyone is talking recession. President Bush is promising tax relief, and it hasn't been a very cheery couple of days for the markets. Two thirds of Americans think we're either already in or on the edge of a recession, and, not surprisingly, consumer spending has slowed. Among all this gloom and doom, yesterday the Informed Reader blog at the Wall Street Journal trawled the Internet and found an upside to our economic woes:
If the U.S. economy falls into a recession, the inevitable pain might come with a silver lining, says Slate columnist Daniel Gross: It would force U.S. companies and workers to become more global in their outlook.
Unlike past U.S. downturns, a recession in 2008 would have only a muted effect on the global economy, says Mr. Gross, noting that no other major economy save Japan faces imminent danger of a contraction.
That should represent a wake-up call for the U.S. "Many American companies simply haven't committed to being aggressive players in the global economy," says Mr. Gross. Big American companies typically still depend on the U.S. for the majority of their sales. To bounce back, he says, U.S. business people need to start seeing foreign markets "not simply as a place to source cheap goods or raise expensive capital, but as the new home market."
The Slate column points out that American companies are increasingly hiring executives from abroad in an effort to increase global sales. Perhaps it's time that American executives and managers on their way up get a little humility and spend some time acquiring foreign (and foreign language) experience and a truly global outlook.
(Image of cloud with silver lining by clagnut, CC 2.0)