Typography

Robin DeWan is a musician, writer and conceptual artist living on Suomenlinna. He holds a degree in literature from the University of California.

WITH all the grim talk of a looming recession circulating lately, it’s wise to take counsel from the folks at Monty Python and “always look on the bright side of life” (cue: whistle). Below you will find a mere smidgen of the positive knock-on effects that the economic downturn could bring.

THAT dream vacation abroad just got cheaper. Tour operators, hotels and airlines are going to be offering some big discounts to weather out these times. They desperately need you and your holiday to stay in business and are ready to take a hit to get you motivated. GAS prices are falling. Oil prices have nose-dived since last summer. We all love a good road trip, don’t we? Plus, airlines can stop griping about their high fuel costs and maybe even start offering free drinks again… but unfortunately, probably not.

HOME ownership, something many young people had all but given up on, is moving back into the realm of possibility. The way real estate prices skyrocketed during the first years of this decade was absolutely criminal. With prices on the housing market expected to decline along with interest rates, it might soon be a ripe time to take out a mortgage. Of course, a lifetime of monthly payments to the bank is never a godsend but it’s comforting that at least such an option is coming back onto the table.

CULTURE thrives on recession. Sure, government grants for the arts might fall off a bit, and artists may have to scour pawn shops for the new equipment they need, but culture – especially music – has had an uncanny ability to blossom when money is tight. Look at the mid-70s, which ushered in Punk, and the early-90s which saw Grunge and Rave take off. Both were times of global recession. The early 90s put a smiley-face out there and got the youth to say “never mind”. Originality in music has been scarce these past 16 years. Isn’t it about time for something fresh to happen?

AND one final thought to ponder: it is “growth” that drives economies and it is “growth” that depletes our planet’s resources. Either we cut down on this mad dash for more, more, more in the ways that we are operating, or we will end up with an environmental catastrophe. We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

SO between now and when the excrement really hits the fan, expect the clever lads running the show to come up with more creative financial measures to stave off an economic meltdown. Just don’t forget to whistle a tune and prepare for more fun and adventure… or what?

WorldCon 75, Scott Lynch; photo by Jana Blomqvist

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WorldCon 75, Robin Hobb; photo by Jana Blomqvist

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Based on an interview by Alisa Nirman on 3.10.2016

Interview