One day you are a middle class professional.
A few days later there is no food left in the fridge and you are hungry.
It happened in Argentina a few years ago, it happened in Latvia recently and it is happening in Greece now.
It could happen in England, too. A little more bad news, another drop in confidence and then the sand holding everything up is washed away.
We have nothing in store for this. No food stocked up in the larder. Nothing growing in the garden that is edible. No wood piled up in the cellar. No rainwater tub in the yard. No savings in the bank. We have built a society which is so highly efficient that it has nothing in reserve. Just-in-time economics has come back and hit us in the neck.
Efficiency, the raison d’etre of all management consultants, becomes a scourge when we “optimise” thoughtlessly and willy nilly, assuming that things will always work within the same conditions. When the normal operating conditions cease to apply it becomes clear how short-sighted and foolish it is to calibrate our measure of efficiency within tight operating conditions.
In the future, as we get more fuel shocks and weather extremes, we will be knocked aside more and more often. We have time to readjust our notion of efficiency and build in plenty of slack and reserve to accommodate the greater fluctuations in conditions. But we have to act quickly.