Randy Seaver just posted a blog that asks the same question that many of us are asking. How will the economy effect genealogy? Although I know that it’s been said that folks will keep spending on their hobby, it’s also said that they will be spending less. And if the recession deepens, will they keep spending at all?
I’m old enough that I remember the great depression. No, I did not live in the 1930s – but my parents did, and they never seemed to quite get out of it, so I got a dose of it as youngster myself. If you have to choose between eating and doing genealogy research, eating wins every time. If you have to choose between staying warm, and genealogy, staying warm wins. If you have to choose between a roof over your head and genealogy, the roof wins. Get my point?
I personally have no faith that our government is going to turn this recession around. If the economists can’t agree on what needs to be done, how in heck can we expect a bunch of overfed politicians to figure it out? So far, all those folks have done for the majority of people is to scare the hell out of us. President-elect Obama has plans to create jobs with government-sponsored infrastructure projects (roads, bridges, energy, and so forth). It sounds good. It may help. However, it may take years before many of those projects can ever take place because of the snails-pace at which permit, zoning, and environmental regulation are dealt with, let alone all the court challenges that will surely have to be surmounted. That can only mean that things will get worse before they get better.
So, on a personal basis, what have we already done? Most of us stopped spending money, slapped the lid on the cookie jar, and hope to ride it out – whatever it is that’s coming our way. Unemployment today is at 7.5%. I predict it will hit 15% or higher before anything gets turned around. That’s because if we’re not spending money like there’s no tomorrow (as we were), then this recession will deepen, and who knows what’s to come. Yes – I’m extremely pessimistic. But I’ve seen nothing to cause optimism.