Crisis is a dangerous opportunity


Everyday, we are bombarded by bad news about economy. Rapidly falling commodity price, a near collapse of the financial system, the loss of consumer confidence, rising unemployment: the list goes on and on. It’s the most severe economic situation since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Stephen Harper is trying to sound up-beat. But he has had to change tunes so many times, that he is beginning to sound desperate and hollow. It’s tough to be in power in a difficult time.

Yes, these are turbulent times. But the ones who see a silver lining in it will not only survive but thrive. In Japanese language, the word for crisis “kiki” is a combination of two words: ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. This is a dangerous time, but a creative person can take advantage of it as an opportunity. It’s a time of renewal. As Obama says, “It’s the time for change. It’s a time for hope. Yes, we can.”

For example, when the Second World War ended in 1945, Germany and Japan were completely destroyed. There was hardly any infrastructure left intact; most of the factories were utterly destroyed. Industries and people’s lives had to be literally re-built from ground-level. So, they had to start afresh, and were able to build up without worrying about old structures, old equipment, and out-dated organizations and traditions. They had been destroyed and discredited. It is common knowledge that this was the reason for their rapid recovery, and a so-called economic miracle. Of course, the Cold War helped. The West needed strong Germany and Japan as allies and as military bases to fight the Communists. Foreign aid and capital poured in. There was a dire need for creativity. In this situation a crisis turned into an opportunity. Devastation gave people reason to think outside the box.

Yes, times are dire. Banks are shaky. The future of our traditional core industries, like automobile and oil productions are severely questioned. But it’s also time to start thinking creatively. It is time to change the strategy for education to produce people who can think and see visions, rather than people who fit in.

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