ON TV: Is recession inevitable?

On Friday Ros will be making his world TV debut …no pressure. WHYS will be on BBC World News at 1040 BST, 1345 BST and 1740 BST – if you want to catch us. This is where you come in. Our three mini editions of the programme are part of the BBC’s special day focusing on the economy. After a few some what bumpy weeks, we are asking these two questions – Is recession inevitable? Has your confidence returned?

Throughout the day we’ll be running a, somewhat unscientific, poll with your answers to those questions. We’re also hoping to put the polls up here on the blog so you can vote here as well as via email and text.

If you want to get involved in the programme, as well as answering the qestions above, we want to hear your personal stories of how you’ve been affected by the global financial crisis. Then we hope to get a few of you on air. Unfortunately, unlike the pilot, we won’t be able to use webcams in this version of the TV programme. So we’ll get you involved either from a BBC studio, so we can see your smiley face on the TV, or alternatively over the telephone.

35 Responses to “ON TV: Is recession inevitable?”

  1. October 22, 2008 at 16:10

    no, recession is not inevitable, but avoiding it would take drastic steps not acceptable to the decision makers because they would destabilize the status quo. For people in power, the question isn’t how can we avoid a recession, it’s how can I benefit personally or at least minimize my losses while maintaining my position of privilege.

  2. 2 Tony From Singapura
    October 22, 2008 at 16:26

    When the media reports on the likelyhood of recession, does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy ?

    If all of the media reports that story that 20 Million will be out of work due to the downturn – we will surely all reduce our spending and save a bit more in case we lose our jobs.

    Our reactions to such reports will surely contribute to a potential recession.

  3. October 22, 2008 at 17:31

    Recession inevitable? It is already here, in the US and almost all of Europe. Even if it isn’t in certain countries, Canada being one of them, it will come. But how deep will it rut?

    So far Canada hasn’t had it too hard – but that is because a lot of the regulations that should have been in the US system are already in-built in the Canadian one. Jobs are still being created here and the central bank has just dropped the interest rate by 1/2 a point.

    This was because the idiotic way the US economy was run. While so many countries look to the US as the worlds economic engine – the US should make sure she steadies the ship! If she cannot do that then the rest of the world should look at a way of taking that mantel away from the US. Add to this, individual countries should make sure their own house is in order before anything like this happens – Northern Rock as an instance!

  4. 4 Tom D Ford
    October 22, 2008 at 17:36

    We are currently in a recession, so the really serious question is:

    “Is a new worldwide “Great Depression” inevitable?”

    When Conservative Republicans passed that law in 1999 that prevented regulating, oversight, and transparency of the derivatives market, they essentially sent a Financial Suicide Bomber into the future and they detonated that just a few months ago, causing anarchy in the markets, stopping the credit flow, and putting the emergency brakes on the world economy. And they even hurt themselves by doing it. We need to throw those Conservative Republican Financial Terrorists out of office and put in moderates.

    Now we adults need to clean up the mess caused by Conservative Republicans and regulate the financial markets, define what instruments can be traded, set up vigorous oversight and transparency and strong enforcement to get the economy back on track.

  5. 5 gary
    October 22, 2008 at 18:07

    Recession is pretty much a given to occur (or to be occurring) in the US. Economic policies within the Greenspan era, extended by Ben Bernanke – including the recent bail-out – are not sustainable. Lot’s of uncollateralized debt is out there! Plus, service economies do not produce wealth; they just shift it about (Read: Guess how much of the GNP isn’t real.). My guess is current economic policies will affect only the timing of recession, not it’s severity (and it will not be pleasant.).

  6. 6 Jessica in NYC
    October 22, 2008 at 18:38

    My confidence is most certainly not secured by any governmental bailout of Wall Street. At this moment, I cannot envision ever trusting Wall Street, again. In NYC we have been in a recession for over a year, so I think it is inevitable for the rest of the world. This situation is bleak situation.

    I am young and have time to recover from the plunge my retirement savings took over the last couple of months, but what about the people who near retirement? The government needs to hold those wall street executives accountable and bring them to justice, which should include jail time.

    It seems the richest country in the world has found a new way to take advantage our elder people, who are suppose to be enjoying their golden years.

  7. 7 Vijay
    October 22, 2008 at 19:28

    Is recession inevitable?

    Yes,Recession is inevitable and to some extent disirable, so that people can feel the pain and know where they went wrong,if there is no pain there will be no change in peoples and nations future behaviour.

    What has confidence got to do with it?Are we trying to impress money lending countries with our confidence?

    October 22, 2008 at 22:29

    A recession is pretty much going to happen….


  9. October 22, 2008 at 22:47

    The plunge of the financial markets is the result of the climax of the apparent irregularities in their dealings. Money kept changing hands from one bank to another; speculators putting all their assets at stakes like crazy gamblers without pausing to look ahead. It was all a mad race to get richer and richer as fast as possible. Anyone seeking to get richer or the richest overnight.

    Markets can redress themselves but not without leaving casualties behind them, especially those who were made redundant or have gone bust due to the current financial crisis.

    It’s up to the leaders of the economically big countries to work out the means to stabilize the markets. There is one country , Zimbabwe, which has reached the highest record of inflation. It will be a doomsday for the rest of the world if inflation in the developed countries reaches at least two digits per cent. A disastrous slowdown in these economies will surely have disastrous effect on poor countries that will have to eke out a living as the so called rich countries will be fighting not to fall in the abyss of economic difficulties for a considerable time.

  10. 10 Jennifer
    October 22, 2008 at 23:55

    Yes, recession is inevitable. It’s not just now occurring though; some people have felt the pressure of it for a long time. My personal confidence in our economy has not been restored. The upcoming election and who wins will determine to what extent we will feel the hurt that is still to come.

  11. October 23, 2008 at 00:15

    I seemed to have lived for the last 50 years in one sort of recession after another and quite frankly can’t tell the difference between recession and not-recession.
    What is a recession? Does anyone actually know?! The poor stay poor and the prices go up, so I assume some get a little richer.
    It’s like “terrorism”. It’s nowhere but everywhere.

    I always thought standing up in a theatre and shouting “FIRE” when there wasn’t a fire was illegal.

    Obviously not.


  12. October 23, 2008 at 00:46

    I agree with Malc Dow about the definition of recession. Poor people who live in areas unaffected by the modern system can’t “make out ” what it means to be under recession as they have a day-to-day life. They aren’t under the pressure to make more money to have more means for leisure and access to modern lifestyle.

    In poor countries, people don’t have any financial insurance. They don’t make any saving at banks to get a pension in the old age. They depend on the support of their families once they’re old.

    However recession can be turned back if lessons are learnt and effective remedies are quickly found, especially those that will thwart the way for those who make too much speculations in the world of finance at the expense of market stability. As private individuals can’t print paper money and give it a value, so the market shouldn’t be excessively in the hands of those who make a mess of it. After all the economy isn’t a free game. There should be rules for it to be played safely. It should be like a field with well marked areas, qualified players and wise referees that ensure that the rules are respected by all.

  13. 13 Kelsie in Houston
    October 23, 2008 at 01:01

    Is it inevitable? It’s already here…

  14. 14 Vera the international mongrel
    October 23, 2008 at 01:20

    My answer would be YES, a recession is inevitable. In fact, I believe we are already in it here in California. The question is how long and how bad it’ll be.

    We are living in an intra-dependent global economy. More than ever, many countries are feeling the rippled effect with the financial crisis that began in America, from Iceland to Germany to India to China to Japan . First time in more than a decade, Chinese economists are warning a slow-down in GDP growth. Several factories in Southern China are facing financial problems and will probably be closed down. Some factories have trouble making payrolls. Workers are protesting.

    In New Delhi, people are buying and spending less due to the credit crunch and the huge loss of the stock market.

    The #1 car maker, Toyota is also feeling the pinch when the car sales in the world’s #1 car market plummeted in the month of August of September because car loans are hard to get. Toyota reports sales were down 32% in September. Germany’s BMW, Audi and Daimler-Benz are facing similar problems.

    Has my confidence returned? Definitely not. I am watching my wallet and not spending money in big-ticket items now, that’s for sure.

  15. 15 Anthony
    October 23, 2008 at 01:50

    Is recession inevitable? That’s like asking “2008 inevitable”? Ummm, yes, and it’s been here for a while. For me, it hasn’t effected me much, since I live by this absurd and foreign concept, check this out, you’re all gonna be flabbergasted!

    “Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it”

    I know what your thinking, “I don’t understand” and “That’s crazy!!!”, but it has helped and that’s why I haven’t been effected much. I think everyone should try it 🙂

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  16. October 23, 2008 at 02:22

    Short answer, “Yes, a recession is inevitable.”

    The not so short, and more political answer is that this. Nobody seems to be able to agree on what a definition for a recession. The important question is, are people going to be able to afford food, shelter, clothing, automobile, energy costs, health care, cable TV, the internet connection, and save for their retirement and children’s college in the near future? The answer to that is “No!” The next question to naturally follow would be, how long is that situation going to last? The answer to that would get really long indeed. But when we start paying for these things with money we have already earned instead of money we might earn, then we will no longer live under the threat of a recession or a depression.

    You will know your government is doing something about it when a person of average wage stops receiving 5 to 10 credit applications per week. When buying a house isn’t advertised as an investment. The top paid CEO’s in the country are not members of the financial banking community. When you are not still paying for your education at the time you retire.

  17. October 23, 2008 at 04:11

    Its going to happen for sure. At this point we should think about reducing the impact on us, personally me or you.
    A simple measures like saving, spending less, planning the future expenditure, plan to save enough hard cash so you can support your self for an year with out a job etc can help to some level.

  18. 18 Bruce Sickles
    October 23, 2008 at 09:32

    Yes, a recession is unavoidable, and will continue to be unavoidable. Our current financial systems demand it. What we have to accept is that a fecession only applies to those who are not controlling these systems. Even in the great depression there were people who were completely unaffected. Those that had the money continued to live the good life and never even batted an eye as they were raping the poor for every penny they could get. This problem persists and will continue to persist as long as we allow someone else to control our money. They are lying to us now as ever. There is no shortage of money but they are refusing to spread it around. Credit. Credit. Credit. It’s the problem. I don’t know how many times I need to say it. I’m listening to an AIG person now as I write this. These people are talking billions of dollars as if it were nothing. We have to stop supporting this type of flagrant disregard for the working class else the haves will continue to bleed the have-nots. I heard one analist liken this to a hi-way and suggested we need guard rails to keep people from running off the road-in fact all twe need are speed limits. Regulation of the financial world are essential.

  19. 19 Tan TH
    October 23, 2008 at 10:19

    Current crisis illustrated another form of internationalised robbery! Lehman’s collapse resulted in common folks’ deposits/investments to be wiped out by 2 bil us$ and 500 mil us$ resp in Hong Kong and Singapore. This is only the tip of iceberg robbery. Using their international status from credit ratings and under the weight of market liberalization push, likes of lehman pushed their way into other countries…..rob the common folks who should be protected in future.Let this be important lesson.

  20. October 23, 2008 at 10:20

    Unless, the developed world people change their comsumption habit, recession is inevitable. If not this year, then next year for sure.

  21. 21 Bob in Queensland
    October 23, 2008 at 10:32

    Recession is ALWAYS inevitable. There’s an economic cycle that, as much as politicians pretend differently, takes the world from boom to bust and back over a period of time.

    However, this one may be sooner and deeper than usual because of our recent failed experiment with “light touch” regulation of the financial markets.

  22. 22 Ramanath Shastri
    October 23, 2008 at 10:33

    Currently, recession is inevitable. But, not for long if we the people decide to tackle effectively by changing our lifestyle. Go Green in all aspects of life and you will make an indirect contribution to the recovery of economy. If every one joins hands tables can be turned within an year and we will be back on track.
    Ramanath Shastri, Croydon, United Kingdom

  23. 23 selena in Canada
    October 23, 2008 at 13:23


    Go Green in all aspects of life and you will make an indirect contribution to the recovery of economy.

    Could you please explain how going green will fix the economy? It is an admirable idea but fix the economy?

    The economy is built on buying and selling all the things that people want but do not need. If the global population bought only what was necessary and recycled what it could, what could be put in place to create the necessary jobs?

    Perhaps you have thought of something which could counter the loss of jobs that Going Green would entail.

  24. 24 Ramanath Shastri
    October 23, 2008 at 20:21

    Cycling(travel) and Re-cycling (environment) should become a habit for all of us. You can imagine how much the energy and fuel savings will contribute to the economy. The government can channel the funds to other developmental works which will re-juvenate the economy and bring back jobs in various sectors.

  25. 25 Ted
    October 24, 2008 at 13:16

    Why is nobody talking about Credit Default Swaps (CDS) – a $62 trillion blackhole in a market that is totally unregulated & opaque. This is the real crisis which nobody in the media (incl. the BBC) doesnt want to mention – Why?
    Because the resulting failure will be a tsunami making the sub-prime crisis look like a ripple on a pond.

  26. 26 selena in Canada
    October 24, 2008 at 13:54


    Unless, the developed world people change their comsumption habit, recession is inevitable.

    Could you please explain what you mean?

  27. 27 selena in Canada
    October 24, 2008 at 14:03

    Fear will make recession a self-filling prophesy!

    People will stop spending and start hoarding. The resultant loss of jobs cannot be stopped by any means other than government spending on make work projects at the community level .

    Government is pouring money into places where it is impossible for the money to have any effect on the ordinary citizen.

    It is the ordinary citizen that keeps the economy ticking!

  28. October 24, 2008 at 15:13

    Iran Bankrupt Without Recession!
    TEHRAN –Lack of hard currency, over-expenditure, massive overheads, Iran is on the brink of bankruptcy.
    It could have been otherwise. Tehran dragged its feet on the nuclear issue, four rounds of EU sanctions, countless other financial and economic restraints in the last thirty years, outdated technology in the upstream, downstream oil and gas sectors, massive public expenditure on food and oil subsidies have depleted public coffers.
    Iran spent its petrodollars before even receiving proceeds over the last year. Two armies, two navies, two air force, 600,000-strong military on the payroll, 500,000 prelates bleeding the treasury, lavish government expenditure, 7 million tons of wheat, 3 million tons of sugar imported per annum, $4 billion annual gasoline and oil derivative imports have made paupers of the nation.
    Add political instability and ethnic discontent, can President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hang on till recession takes him out or should we wait for the presidential elections due in five months?

  29. October 24, 2008 at 21:29

    We are being told by the Czars of the economy that technically there should be two consecutive quarters of zero or negativegrowth. The signs are that developed economies seem to be heading that way at the macrolevel. This is bound to impact at the microlevel/individual level too depending on circumstances. Jobs are being lost with increasing closures of samll businesses which will impact further .The government bailout plan for Banks in UK, for example, has a high pay back 12% interest rate resulting in seemingly no-takers. Credit/market squeeze continue while Government pleas to ease lending remain unanswered or low by Banks. A sustainable plan involving proper regulatory controls at the national/international levels that avoid the serious pitfalls of the past are yet a dream. May have to stumble along until the next Presidential election in the US and see what happens thereafter. Not long to wait.

  30. October 25, 2008 at 02:05

    We have totally lost the ability to examine as to what should come first in our lives and the main priorities in our families. Not the latest gadget or toy, and creating jealousy between neighbour and child, that’s not a great thing to aspire to, is it? Instead we’ve been consumed and swallowed up in the mantra that all is progress, simply because we’re told that’s the case by self-interested parties. Consume, consume and you’ll never regret it, until the day you actually do of course.
    If we were to examine past civilizations like the Greeks for example they would spend considerable time examining and debating the positives, negatives, the consequences and everything that could and would be affected by advances of the day. When they felt they had devoted sufficient time enough to investigating so called progress, they would give sanction and agree to certain things being put in place. We in the west appear to be great admirers of their civilization, yet do not lead by their example whatsoever.
    History informs of the past and is a reason that untrammeled progress should be given much consideration to being put under the microscope more than ever before, so as to inform us of all our futures. The immense divisions and dichotomy throughout societies, communities and nations across the world are a consequence of our actions past and present are they not? It’s time to reassess our desires and attitudes towards ourselves.
    We in the west always benefit by the luxury of hindsight if we so chose, others are less fortunate. We need to take a lead and also listen to others who have advice and points of value to offer, from no matter where. The sooner the world wakes up to the fact that we are all in this together, and it requires immense, consistent and never-ending consultation and communication, then surely that’s a form of progress to be ushered in and welcomed!
    Interesting to see that a certain news channel was uttering similar to this on Friday evening. My crystal ball seems to be in perfect working order I’d say, seeing as I originally wrote this on Thursday!

  31. 31 Bob Ezergailis
    October 25, 2008 at 07:24

    We have experienced a major recession approximately every ten years. Coming into the 1960s, after the 1960s boom, with the downsizing and closure of internationally outsourced factories in the 1980s, early 1990s which were particularly devastating. Is this a replay of those years ? With proper governance it ought not to be that. The pattern however is quite consistent spanning 50 years. We are in a ten year vicious cycle and no one in government has either clued in and admitted the problem nor have they presented a proactive solution to prevent the problem from reoccurring. We might well ask if there are any leaders today fully capable and cognizant enough to lead the world more effectively towards a reformed capitalism without devastating vicious cycles of nearly boom gone bust. This time is different in the fact that governments have insisted on giving hand outs to financial institutions. That money is now lost to government initiatives that would provide more economic activity. That might be a first, and the consequences are likely to be damaging. That money was badly needed for social programs, infrastructure, and healthcare, provision of fundamental needs. Instead it was given away to one of the causes of the current ecnomic disaster. Nationalization of banking might be a way out of the current problem, with national bank profitability, improved by government intelligence and its improved ability to approve and collect debt. Income taxes could potentially be a thing of the past , making a country more competitive, without need for wage increases as the tax cut is phased in. A properly functionning and thus profitable banking system, run by government, could provide for social programs, infrastructure, healthcare, spreading the burden in a new way that would be more effective than income taxes tend to be. Something to think about. that and the fact that we need a new balance between the money that goes out into the world and the money that remains for the local community, and returns to it. Those cycles of boom and bust have always meant money flowed out, but nothing much, if anything, came back to local communities to maintain and improve them. That too must change. That can only be accomplished by menas of good, wise, true and effective governance, and that is today’s major challenge. It is a part of the questions thatt any efffective reform of capitalist economics must address.

  32. October 25, 2008 at 08:24

    My reading is that there has been excessive reliance on “services” in the past decade while reliance on agriculture and manufacturing has receded into the background. Unless there is balanced overall economic growth with increasing wealth production lopsided re-distribution of existing wealth can result in the sort of situation faced today in the west. Besides with stored wealth having been exhausted to fund much needed social and human welfare crisis and wars (not to be left out) economic and financial hardship stares most people in their faces. Government has a great regulatory balanced mediatory role to play. That is why there are governments, not just for politics for party’s sakes. This is the first real test on a global scale of a “meltdown” in our lifetime.

  33. October 25, 2008 at 08:26

    Socialism or Barbrism – beyond recession do we still that choice left?

  34. 34 Shakhoor Rehman
    October 25, 2008 at 12:38

    We are already in a global recession and have been for months and will remain there for at least two years.

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