Taking stock and looking to the future…
I’m sure that, like me, you have been following commentary and discussion over the past number of weeks on the state of our nation’s finances and, more recently, over the possibility of us having to go cap in hand to our EU partners to seek their financial aid. I’m sure that, like me, you are utterly flabbergasted at how this whole sorry state of affairs has come about, you are at boiling point over how the once adored ‘masters of the universe’ (i.e., our bankers) have brought us to our knees, and you are frustrated with our political ‘leaders’ and how their decisions have us on the hook for billions and billions of euro through the bank guarantee.
I am sensing the same sort of chastising going on of those who suggest that we need to learn from what has happened as went on of those who sought to caution us of the impending doom from the runaway property bubble. We are being told that what is done is done and there is little point in dwelling on the past. But, are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past if we don’t take stock and learn from them? Are there vested interests at play in the talk of those not wanting us to re-visit and forensically trawl over that past to identify what went wrong and who was responsible/accountable for the decisions that have brought us to the brink? Decisions were made by both public and private sector leaders and they need to be held to account for those decisions. If there’s to be no accountability, then what’s the point in leaders being paid exorbitant salaries and benefits in the first place?
Of course, taking stock does not mean ignoring the future. Rather, it means informing our decisions about the future. It means being honest with ourselves about where we are now, why we are where we are, and building a collective mind-set about where we want to be into the future and how we think we can get there. Building a collective mind-set does not mean ignoring criticism of the emerging mind-set, for no one has a crystal ball about the future, not even our beloved economists, as we tread our way into the future. We have the experience of the past to bolster us that, when faced with adversity, we made it. And we need this belief in ourselves that we can do it once again, albeit with the sense that what has brought us to our knees must never happen again. We must be careful of the words ‘this time it’s different’ and question any such harbinger!