What do we call the financial mess we’re in?

Last month, I came across an intriguing article in The New York Times entitled, No question we’re in a financial pickle. What do we call it?  At first, worrying about what to call this financial mess seemed trivial. It’s not. They may be the tip of the iceberg, but names are how we remember things. They matter.

So, recession? True, but too clinical. Retrenchment? Yes, but not deep or, frankly, personal enough. How about Revolution? Already been used.

Welcome, instead, to the Great Reckoning. That is where we are. Government bailouts notwithstanding, taking stock of what we’ve done to ourselves, and what we will do from here, is the path back to integrity, and to a state of economic health that might actually last. So, why the Great Reckoning? Simple: We’re nobody’s victim; we have a choice and we’re all accountable for change. It took a lot to get here and it will take a lot to move on. Moreover, our current problem isn’t just a matter of economics; it is equally about the need for reflection and systemic change. The “Great Reckoning” captures this fact nicely.

The question is what can we – each company, each person – do to make a difference that will help pull us out of the mess we’re in? A sterling example of someone who’s making a difference is Warren Buffett who is investing in America: in Goldman Sachs and GE, as well as other undervalued economic assets. As for me, I’m not charging anything I can’t pay for when the bill arrives. I’m putting some cash into our house, because I believe that real estate remains a solid, long term investment. And I’m hoping like crazy that the Great Reckoning leads regulators and legislators to show some serious spine the next time Wall Street and industry lobbyists cajole, threaten or otherwise intimidate them into turning a blind eye to what’s right for the economy.

So, what will you do to help turn the Great Reckoning into the Great Recovery?

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