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EDITORIAL November 2001 - Nov 14th Update

As the Northern Alliance consolidates it's grip on Afghanistan we look on in amazement at how quickly the Taliban are dissolving. Sadly the fallout from Sept 11th and the latest American Airlines tragic accident in the New York continues it's negative impact. The prospects for a bigger world recession loom larger. Confidence is everything. So Hackwriters offers some survival tips.


Someone , somewhere is not telling the truth. On one hand we have politicians saying the whole world changed on September 11th and nothing will ever be the same, then we have other politicos saying 'be normal, carry on as before, keep moving, nothing to look at here..."

Well- you only have to look at just how many jobs are vanishing worldwide to realise that things are very much not 'normal'. But should you or I be worried? America and Americans are feeling the heat first, but it is slowly spreading. Argentina's default is just one problem. They key issue is that whichever country or company was weak before Sept 11th is now fully exposed and like dominos are falling over.

It is very easy to say, 'well all these jobs are related to the aircraft or tourism industries. It's kind of natural 'they' would lose their jobs'...., but hey, wake up and smell the Cafe Latte (Starbucks £2.15 a pop), we are ALL connected to world tourism, we are all tourists now. There are, I have it on good authority around 240 million people working in the world-wide travel and tourism industry. They estimate that around eight million of those jobs will disappear in the next six months - could be more. For every job that goes at Rolls-Royce or Boeing, GKN or Ford, Thomas Cook or British Airways, Northwest Airlines or a Thailand Hyatt they all connect in some way to us, whether you like it or not.

My next door neighbour (from hell) works for Canadian Airlines and never was anyone happier than us to hear he got canned, but then I heard from May who works in a travel magazine that is closing, then Denis who is in conferencing and that job will be replaced by video conferencing and Janet whose restaurant is suffering and may not survive till Christmas. Little sinking islands in a recessionary sea - but connected. Again , on one hand there are record cars sales in the UK, but look again and see the discounts. Is anyone actually making money out of this? Same with clothing, even wine. The bargains are tempting.

In the UK they keep telling us that we are going to weather the recession, as long as the consumer keeps buying, but guess what, this consumer boom is led with a credit card and that is entirely based upon a feel good factor left over from this years house price rises. It's anticipated money or remortaged money and the snag with that is...the debt is not only still there, but larger since you borrowed more to upgrade your car or go on a fancy vacation. Credit spending is at record levels since 1999 and most of us are content to roll lit over every month or increase the limit, every month. Evidence shows that in the USA many people are already maxed out and their traditional practice of paying installments on one card with another may no longer work.

So here is the red flag prices have stopped rising. They are actually dropping (10 percent (Nov 11th Sunday Times)) in London and the South East and what goes for London, goes for the rest of the UK later. My guess is that they could fall much more steeply in the New Year as Banks begin their customary panic repossessions. It's long been an anomaly that house prices are rising fastest in areas where manufacturing is in steepest decline.

Everyone is crossing their fingers that the consumer will buy his or her way out of the crisis, go a little crazy this Christmas, but we are in very precarious times and this is the time to wake up. Don't listen to these spending calls. These are the very same people who six months from now will be calling you 'stupid' or 'reckless' and be calling in the loans, repossessing your homes, denying you access to capital, turning you into a debtor with hidden black marks against you for life.

All it needs is for one anthrax letter to turn up in Jack Straw's in-tray or a bomb to go off in Canary Wharf, something that brings people up with a sharp jolt and then it will be too damn late to snap your wallet shut.

I am not saying we have to go the way of Japan where no will spend anything and prices spiral downwards -imploding the economy, but your on the beach, the red flag is flying, just paddle, don't swim, OK?


1: Pay down all credit and store cards now. (especially store cards)

2: Buy small Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts only. Tell everyone you are donating something from them to the kids in Afghanistan instead. Do it and make yourself a hero.

3: Entertain at home, you'll be surprised at how much you can save - food and wines better too.

4: Defer all further new financial committments.

5: Liquidate shares, get into cash (but hold off on the Euro until February when you see which way the wind is blowing). There will be bargains as the recession bites.

6: If you have a redundancy cheque, pay off debts, mortgages or go on a major course and get reskilled in time for the recovery.

7: Plan that sabbatical. If you can't get a job, you can get a life. Don't sit around, now is the time to compose, volunteer, write that novel, do something.

8: Take charge. Get the facts. Don't be caught off guard, read a quality paper for once and discover the real news. Or read the Economist in the library if you are too cheap.

9: If you don't have a partner, find one, hard times are better with company.

10: Ditch losers. Seek out positive people, people who want to survive.
(This may involve teenage family members - but remember that cold snow you are turning them out into is character forming.)

11: Now you are ready. Good luck. No cheating now.

Welcome to Angie Eng who has been busy travelling in Myanmar and India this year and lived to tell the tales.Welcome too to Chris Windle who has been busy backpacking in Europe and welcome back to Greg Veis our Florida sports guy. James Campion has some excellent points to make about Casulaties of War as well. Lots of good stuff been sent in this past week See Brenda Hall and Jon Nicholas and James Skinner & more coming, so enjoy and if you like, tell us, we like to know you are out there.Thanks too to Chris Lean for his review of Harry Potter. We had fun watching it, so will you. *Late News: Nov 14th.Oh yes and congrats to Carpe Diem Films for optioning my screenplay 'The Pushover'. Let's see if we can now raise the finance to get it made.
My thanks to Scriptshop for making this happen. Finally something on the web that really works.

(We do reserve the right to edit and reject unreasonable and objectional material).

Sam North - Managing Editor - author of Diamonds the most difficult book to buy in the world
(But worth the effort)

© Carine Thomas - Publisher - A Brighter Image Company


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