• 04/14/2020
  • Corona-Krise

Just be quite for a while

"Human creativity and ingenuity" may get lost among all these "calculations", says Ernst Prost.

Dear ladies and gentlemen. 

When I hear and read everything that economists, theorists, self-proclaimed experts and our politicians - and anyone else who feels compelled to say anything - have to say about our economic future, my tummy turns. "Biggest crisis since Alexander the Great", "unprecedented decline". It's clear that things won't get any better this quickly and that our gross domestic product will in all probability be worse than in previous years anyone can imagine, but to predict the decline of the gross national product and the increase in unemployment figures to a tenth of a percent behind the decimal point is charlatanism. These gentlemen do not know anything precise themselves! Otherwise they would not constantly come to different forecasts and opinions. I have been saying for decades: "The economy is not what happens and what smart people predict, but what the economy does with its companies and employees. The emphasis is on "do", not on "look into the glass ball", no matter how unfounded and false these downturn and doom predictions may be they always achieve one thing, namely to unsettle and frighten people. Why do they? What is the point?

Any fool knows that economics has a lot to do with psychology, and when a few self-appointed, specialized top experts predict the complete or partial downfall of the West, one shouldn't be surprised if people stop consuming and consequently companies stop investing. These are negative "self-fulfilling prophecies", which unfortunately lead into the downward spiral that is being talked about. I'm not asking anyone to describe the situation as more rosy than it is, but painting it black won't help, and then always these brute phrases with apocalyptic claims. Why just not say, "The end is near"? It is noticeable that the gentlemen want to outdo each other with even more drastic predictions for the future.

Just be quite for a while and watch how companies, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, employees and workers fight this battle. The predictions are already not valid during normal times, and a look back at the end of the year reveals the inaccuracies of every prediction. Who is to say that after their forced closure, people are not twice as hungry for consumption, for restaurants, cafés, cinema, new cars and holidays? Who says that entirely new technologies, new ways of working, new markets will not take hold after this crisis, provide new stimulus and boost the gross national product instead of melting it down? These "calculations" are for nothing if not for the fact that they ignore the dynamic component of a stable and strong economy: human creativity and ingenuity. Who does it really help to hear that we are sliding into the biggest crisis of all crises ever? Exactly - nobody. The main thing is to cause fear... Please, dear institute directors and market researchers  - just be quite for a while. Let us entrepreneurs, craftsmen, workers, employees, self-employed people do their work in peace and quiet. Then you can "explain" to us in a few months why your negative predictions about the development of our economic performance were wrong, but please stop trumpeting bad news into the country every day. It is annoying - and damaging!

Best regards 

Ernst Prost