News & Research Archive

2009 Will be All About Perception

Jan 12, 2009


In 1993 then President Bush was ridiculed for suggesting that if every American bought just one pair of socks we could get out of a recession. In concept he was right, but because America was locked into a negative frame of mind battered by news media reports of job losses, store closings and overall economic despair, America could not accept that the thought that such a simple act could get our country moving again. This cost Bush the election against Bill Clinton; he was branded being out of touch with reality.


The fact is simple economic cycles both good and bad start and end with perception. Consumer spending first and foremost drives our world economy and it is the quickest way to generate a positive reaction to any economy. Business and government spending typically take much longer to provide a similar boom to an economy. If America feels good it will spend money thus helping the economy to grow. In essence it is that simple.


The problem as we enter 2009 is that America is not hearing any good news. I am sure you are as tired as I am to wake up to your television news to hear the latest in simply bad economic news. With that kind of constant negative information stream do I want to go ahead and buy a new computer or spend money on a new appliance? No, I better wait till I hear that things are getting better.


Since October our firm, like most businesses, has been looking at ways to cut expenses in the face of an uncertain future. We will cut all non-essential expenses and will also look at ways to curb essential needs as well. Our cuts will hurt the vendors we deal with. Our vendors in-turn will cut their expenses the same way. The result is a recession or worse.


Where are our leaders today to talk up a more positive outlook? Why does our media fail to find something good to report on regarding our economy and future? It truly is not all bad. In any economic cycle there are businesses that will see growth. Letís explore those markets to see where opportunities lay and let the media and our leaders exploit these opportunities for the benefit of our country.


As we go into 2009 I could write about all of the things we should be thinking about doing and what direction I feel the commercial real estate market is heading but my thoughts are simply a stab in the dark. It really boils down to one simple fact; if our leaders and the media choose to take a negative direction we are in for a very tough year. If they choose to be positive we will have a shorter recession.


Jimmy Carter lost his election to Ronald Reagan when in the height of a severe recession he told the American public that America will never be has good as it once was. Ronald Reagan was elected President when he responded that not only was Carter wrong but that America would be greater. Immediately after that statement America saw its biggest economic boom since the end of World War II.  Letís utilize this lesson in the power of positive thinking as we enter 2009.




Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 24 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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