Recession – it’s all our fault

It is something of a media sport in these recessionary times to find ‘economic scapegoats’. One minute the recession is the fault of the banks and their poor lending practices; the next minute it is the fault of the media themselves, who are constantly reporting doom and gloom; the next minute it is the fault of the politicians, who have failed to react quickly enough to the economic uncertainties; the list goes on! However, the one group that is rarely blamed is ‘us’ – the consumers. Given that the state of the economy is the outcome of our collective decisions, it could be said that we have no real right to complain, as our collective lack of confidence could be what has caused much of the current situation. As James Meek puts it in the article below:

What makes the situation peculiar is that the crisis that threatens us also seems to be us; we are simultaneously menaced by the wave, and exist as elements of the wave. After all, that is what an economic crisis is: the sum of all the actions of billions of people around the world, deciding whether to lend or hoard, borrow or save, sell or buy, move or stay, hire or fire, study or look for work, be pessimistic or optimistic.

To live in remarkable times Guardian (5/1/09)


  1. Explain how changes in consumer confidence can affect the level of aggregate demand.
  2. Examine the importance of consumer confidence in determining the length and depth of a recession.
  3. Discuss policies that the government can implement to try to boost consumer confidence.
  4. Analyse the impact on an economy of a prolonged period of poor consumer confidence.