Difficult times

Difficult times, to be sure. I guess I am not as directly affected by the global market crash as many others but now I am beginning to feel the pinch. Everything seems to be linked to everything else and it is nearly impossible to figure out how and how much. Its like the butterfly effect – neigh near impossible to find that elusive little troublemaker.

For example, many call-center businesses got affected and as a result some of their symbiotic industries also got affected. That led to other areas which suffered and now its our turn – the printing people. Our clients don’t have the funds because their own cash-lines have been interrupted. And since printing usually isn’t a high priority business expense, we are getting pushed to the sidelines. Customers who used to get, say, a hundred units of work done from us now get less than fifty since they don’t have the funds for more and no certainty of getting the funds in a reasonable amount of time even if we stretch the credit-lines to their breaking limits.

My brother, who does know a lot about finance, says that it may take even three years before things bounce back to what they were in pre-crash days. That’s a long time for convalescing. I can’t make any sense out of it. If it was real money, where did it all go when the market crashed? I mean it has been taken from someone so it must go to someone else. It just can’t disappear and if it is only figures in the computers then why all the panic. In other words, the farmers are growing the same amount of crops, the miners are digging up the same amount of stuff and the factories seem to be producing the same amount of goods. So where is all that money? If people had it where did it go and if no one had it then why bother with it. So if my company is worth a hundred bucks today because of all the stuff I have in it then how can that factory be in a loss when everything is there and still producing the same amount of goods? Very strange.

One of these days I will have to sit my brother down and have him explain all this to me. He has tried several times but then he always ends up frustrated at my total lack of understanding about how the stock market works and why it is the way it is. He tried explaining that many of the problems came because of loaned money that wasn’t due for the next twenty years. Fine, I understood that. Then why worry about it already? Why not wait for twenty years before crying ‘wolf’? Needless to say, after the third or the fourth attempt, he walked away exasperated. Hmm, if I have a Rupee, I will still have it unless I spend it. And since the price of most things that I normally buy has not changed all that much except for the usual inflation, that Rupee still buys the same amount of stuff. Isn’t that what money is supposed to be for anyway?

So where has this simple system gone wrong? Have the people been spending money that they don’t have or gloating over money that was not theirs to begin with?

Either way, the bottom line is this – even my business is suffering and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. Not all the businesses here in Bhopal are affected, many have not been touched while many suffer a lost worse than we do. So I guess whatever the problem seems to be, it is real for many people. And for the sake of those already affected and those in the offing, I hope the really smart people who know all this stuff fix things up before they get any worse. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

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