in Vol. 17 - January Issue - Year 2016
Good Vibrations / Bad Vibrations - Will Paris 11/13 Have Any Effects On Industrial Development?
The recent appalling attacks in Paris and Egypt can be perceived from various perspectives. What is certain is that a group of frustrated and highly aggressive young men has misused a religion in order to act out their own insanity. The sad part of this is that they not only put an end to their own lives but - for many years and time and again - have also taken the lives of quite normal people who were living peaceful lives. They wreak their havoc in ever-increasing regions in the world - now even in the air and in the very heart of our social and cultural life.
In addition to the human tragedies resulting from this, these brutal attacks are now having an impact on various aspects of life.
From research into stress, the consequences of such terrifying events are very well known. The threat makes us not only alert and vigilant, but also nervous und anxious - possibly even panicky. Insecurity sets in. In turbulent periods, such as we are now experiencing, an army of therapists would be needed to provide people with an appropriate way of coping with their fears. It is also known from the experiences of the past that corresponding reactions to the experiences of stress manifest themselves, including escape, anger, counter-aggression, depression, withdrawal, helplessness.
The very idea that something similar to Paris could happen again in the middle of our society might well lead to people considering how to live their lives in the future. Do we change something? Do we avoid certain activities or meetings? Do we steer well clear of certain places, regions, countries, continents? Do we place restrictions on our movements or radius of movement or (even only) the frequency of certain activities?
To the extent that people are already (or one day will be) answering these questions with "yes", then this may result in far-reaching consequences for a large number of areas of life and sectors. Whether trade, the hotel and restaurant industry, the event and travel industry. If economic slumps occur in these sectors, then a domino effect will be set in motion that will also affect numerous other areas. The economic crisis in Greece has demonstrated how insecurity can penetrate society within a very short space of time and paralyse entire industries. Similar scenarios are also conceivable if further terrorist attacks take place worldwide and peoples' insecurity increases.
It is not only events, such as the VW scandal, which are fraught with the risk of people changing their living and consumer habits - these recent attacks could also lead to tangible effects.
Who would still get into a plane, who would still go to major events, who would still cheerfully saunter through the major cities of Europe without any worries? The resulting behaviour will inevitably have an impact on the business environment, trade, consumption and, of course, the manufacturing industry. If there is less pleasure to be gained from travelling, participating in cultural life and consuming, then the industry will be faced with far-reaching consequences.
On the other hand, there will be industries that will be able to benefit from the effects of these events. It is possible that safety installations and weapons for self-defence will be much in demand. Home entertainment technology could witness another boom if people prefer to experience in their own four walls what they have otherwise experienced in concert halls or at street festivals. Perhaps car manufacturers will also profit, if planes or public transport are no longer perceived as "safe".
The terrorist group ISIS has threatened more attacks. It remains to be seen whether threats alone will suffice to set the wave in motion or a storm in the form of further attacks are needed for this purpose.
All things considered, this development is alarming and it can only be hoped that as many freedom-loving citizens as possible in our world possess the courage to continue to pursue their usual lifestyle and confidently oppose this nascent fear. Values such as cohesion, open communication and mutual support may be of help.
Dear MFN readers, be bold, be courageous and fight in a non-violent way for an open society and against terror. Don't become restricted or unsettled. I hope that on behalf of all of us, 2016 will prove to be a year shaped by peace and overwhelmingly positive developments.
by Dirk Gather, Contributing Editor MFN and General Manager of GZO GmbH, Germany