February 2009 – Interview with Michael Marshall, ‘The Business Doctor’
You have an extensive psychology and social human behavior background along with business.
What do you think about the current economic and business situation in regards to how these things are affecting people and how people may react?
People are reacting to these economic times in a variety of ways but over time their reaction, attitudes and behavior will change.
Please explain how their attitudes and behavior will change over time.
As more people struggle financially over a longer time from unemployment, possible loss of home, lack of obtaining adequate healthcare due to unemployment, using up all of their savings due to unemployment, house mortgage being well above current value creating insecurity, reading and hearing about the economic times in newspapers and other media, hearing about excessive corporate executive greed, seeing other people suffer and the many other things; civility and tolerance may decrease.
People may become angry and desire to strike out against those that they believe are part of the cause of these things.
Crime may increase.
There can be a mistrust of the banks, stock market, investments, business executives, business organizations, employers, government, politicians and many other things.
After people are depressed for a while, frustration and anger may rise.
Social unrest can be a result of this and such unrest can become significant if a large number of people are suffering.
The government most likely is aware of this and will act aggressively to improve things to avoid social unrest.
This is a serious situation.
You mention frustration, anger and striking out.
This sounds very serious.
With the news about corporate executives taking large amounts of money in salaries and bonuses in the millions of dollars while their organizations suffer, lays off people; and possibly get government bailout money; how will people react to this?
Obviously, many will be frustrated and angry.
If the economy and unemployment do not improve fast enough, there can be some very serious social unrest and possibly some directed at individuals.
This is why it is important for the government to make alliances with academics, experts in many fields and businesses to uncover the best actions to take for improving things quickly and implement immediately.
A true joint effort from many people will be needed to accomplish this.
When people who are hurting, frustrated and angry, see such effort and actions, they may exert more civility until things get better for them.
Regarding some senior executives getting millions of dollars of money while employees suffer and people are being layed-off, do you think there will be changes with this and how will people react to such?
Besides the normal frustration and anger, there could be some serious social unrest with this situation, as we mentioned.
I do think there will be some major corporate reforms and positive social reforms on this.
Public corporations may be forced to scale back excessive executive compensation for public relations reasons and for the demands from their stockholders.
Possibly Wall Street may devalue company stock price/value based on excessive executive compensation.
Most people are viewing this situation as excessive greed and I believe in the near future such excessive greed will have a psychological or sociological name or term attached to it just like other illnesses such as; obesity, anorexia, alcoholism, drug addiction, smoking addiction, ADD attention deficit disorder, psychopath and the many other terms we hear of.
Who knows; maybe it will be labeled ‘greedism’, ‘social conscience deprivation’ or ‘SCDD social conscience deficit disorder’ and a special therapy developed to treat it.
What other affects and changes do you see coming?
I think there are many changes coming including people changing their personal attitudes and living style.
I believe that more people will start saving more and paying more with cash instead of using so much credit.
Using too much credit to live on has proven to be harmful.
I believe people will change their life style, vehicle they drive, vacations they take, various consumer spending and house they live in, based far more on financial considerations instead of ego, self gratifications and image.
Now that the US government is promoting education and higher education and willing to financially support it, what effects do you see from this?
I am in strong support of this and wish there was even more support.
I know this to be important for the US economy, business growth, staying competitive in the world market, culture growth, knowledge evolution and advancement of so many important things.
Maybe the negative phrase of ‘over-qualified’ will disappear and not be used any more.
Possibly business organizations will hire the highest skilled and educated people instead of only those at the lowest cost that have lower skills and lower education but may barely scrape by.
Possibly business organizations will develop programs that promote more education and trainings for employees.
Maybe more people will be able to attend college and various training.
The academic world views the business world as lacking higher education in solid fundamentals and not applying them, contributing to business struggles and failures.
The business world views academics as not having real world business experience.
Possibly these two worlds will work together far more.
I can speak on about this subject for hours.
You appear very passionate on this subject of the importance of higher education and continual training.
Have shared any of your ideas and thoughts about how to improve the economy, improve business and any of this information that you just discussed with the US government.
I have had communications with several in the US Congress.
What have they said about ithings?
Some in the US Congress appear to understand the many causes contributing to all of this and the action needed to improve things.
Others Congress people appear not to have a good understanding and do not believe that the government should be an active participant in correcting problems and helping to improve the economy
I am surprised to hear that some in the Congress are not knowledgeable about the economic problems and supporting aggressive corrective actions to improve things.
This amazes me as well.
When their time comes for re-election, hopefully the US Citizens in their district votes appropriately to correct the situation.
Well, time is up.
We appreciate you sharing your ideas, thoughts and insights with us.