Surviving the Winter: Your Business Guide to Not Getting Stuffed
Energy costs, interest rates, war and famine - is there any hope?
The scorching summer feels like a light year away. It was not long ago that the stock markets were finally rebuilding themselves after a spring of collapsing indexes. Yes, interest rates were soaring but the price of petrol was going down and the UK was looking forward to a post sleaze era, you know, the one with more grown up leaders!!?? America was winding up for a mid-term election with Biden hitting a number of policy wins. Ukraine was starting to push back the Russian advance and even crypto was climbing back out of the toilet. Surely things were going to get better.
Then summer ended and in a short few weeks EVERYTHING changed. In no particular order the Queen died, the UK shut down and soccer was off the menu - which might have been a blessing for some (Chelsea F.C.?). Russia switched the gas off, the stock markets started to freak out and the dollar hit the accelerator. China decided to follow suit and started accelerating ships, missiles and war planes at their neighbours. Not surprisingly North Korea joined in whipping out a ballistic nuke(?) over Japan which, according to them, is quite a feat of technology. Fortunately it didn’t fizzle out like a NASA lift-off landing in the middle of Tokyo!
As if that wasn’t bad enough the generally polite Japanese were made to experience their favourite prime minister getting shot in cold daylight. Which was not cool. Meanwhile Russia conjured up a couple of new tricks by killing Ukrainians with kamikaze drones from Iran and stifling yet more political dissent by sending their (conscripted) citizens and convicts out for a spin on the battlefield. Lining people up for a state backed killing also trended up in Iran where removing your hijab as thousands of women protesters are doing ensures a disappearing rabbit (er-protester) in a hat (er-prison) trick. Apparently this is also the case for British ministers as Johnson’s stumble off the proverbial cliff was closely followed by Kwarteng’s sleepwalk to God knows where - with Truss not far behind. Just when we thought Pirates of the Caribbean had the monopoly on plank walking.
Meanwhile, the soaring dollar is toppling currencies like dominoes. In England it has added up to complete chaos - which is where Italy might be heading if Meloni can’t keep the male machismo in place. And to end it all, it seems Trump and Johnson are planning a comeback. Perhaps as a double act? You know, one to beat Laurel and Hardy or Trump and Farage. But nothing can say comedy/tragedy quite like the conditions we find ourselves in.
To help you through it we have developed a business guide to not getting stuffed this winter. The 10 rules for survival.
Turn the heating off, buy candles in bulk and send everyone back to home-working so they have to pay the energy bills and not you. Then, bite the bullet (Russian made?) and dump the office lease because no one knows when the war will end, non Dollar currencies will recover or the incumbent muppet show will remain. If you do keep your work premises at least new mini wind turbines, designed for the flat roofs of factories and warehouses, have been designed to work alongside solar panels on the same roof (meaning one clusterf**k of a roof), but at least you can get loads of low cost renewable energy and go off grid. P.S. You might have to do in a few politicians to make it happen.
Switch your business model to making arms because the one thing you can be 100% sure of is that leaning into war is a sure winner: check Ukraine, then the rest of Europe, Taiwan, and any banana republic still standing after the summer droughts/hurricanes/lack of compensation from polluting nations.
Invest in crypto because every Russian will end up using it and it looks like the guys at Etherium, who basically own it all, have figured out how to mine coins without firing up more emissions than coal. Trying to calculate precisely how much energy cryptocurrency uses, and hence how much it damages the effort to rein in global warming, has been an absorbing game for years now - and not one for light hearted readers. Apparently it uses more than if all the teakettles in England boiled water simultaneously for 26 years and more than all the refrigerators in the U.S. - which is saying A LOT. If cryptocurrency was a nation it would be the 27th biggest consumer of energy. Well, no more. Apparently Etherium’s new wheeze will cut emissions by around 99%. Ponzi scheme no more..??
Go tech and shove a couple of your servers onto a blockchain because investors love this shit and no one understands what the hell it is so you can blag your way through of all kinds of investor meetings. You might also want to consider buying a social media app because apparently every Elon, Donald and Kanye (Ye) is.
Don’t invest in banks because the environmental warriors have figured out that they are the biggest polluters by continuing to finance big oil, meaning they bank our destruction, your energy price rises, inflation in general and the reason why your business can no longer afford to pay employees to help you out. Also, we all know what happens when Greta sets her sights on big emitters. It used to be don’t bet against the markets... If this is not bad enough, apparently distributed finance (impressively branded DeFi??) is all the rage so the banks will get stuffed by twenty year old geeks hidden in basements/tax havens/places without extradition.
Get your employees to go out on strike. You will want to get ahead of this one before it happens to you. Call a day of strikes a week until the end of winter. That way you will build plenty of goodwill with the few employees you might be able to hang onto after the economy nose dives off the cliff. Also, when they’re out on strike you might be able to dodge paying them and you can shutter the office which will further erode those energy bills.
Shift everything into the metaverse. If you believe Meta’s/Facebook’s/whatever-name-they-come-up-with-tomorrow-to-stave-off-bad-PR’s latest ads you can do anything you want in the Meta-verse. Presumably including making avatars of your products and customers. And the neat thing about avatars is you can programme them to do whatever you want. You know, like getting them to buy as many products as you want at whatever price you like. Maybe Meta is onto something after all.
Be careful about importing too much from Taiwan because apparently Xi wants it gone. Nancy Pelosi as well. He kicked off China’s annual 5 year head-nodding shindig pretty much saying that from the getgo. That and how to shift their economy from volume to quality which is politico mumbo jumbo for ‘who wants to continue making this cheap crap we export to America’. He wants to go high-tech, you know, like Taiwan. Oh wait…
Buy the Dollar because everyone else is and Buy Saudi Arabia because they make all the oil.
Turn your product into an NFT because rich folk are addicted to it and will buy pretty much anything they can find on Opensea. And thanks to bird flu they have a tonne of spare money because they can’t go pheasant shooting.
If the above feels a little too racy for you then you could buckle down and figure out how to switch your business to the newest trends. You know, cost of living/war/retro’s-back/Meta-anything/electric-pets/remote-working-in-the-Arctic-since-ice-is-cheap-thanks-to-the-climate-melting-thing/making-coal/making-things-Russia-used-to-make-because-sanctions-mean-they-can’t-sell-them-any-more/setting-up-a-venture-capital-fund-cos-every-startup-on-the-planet-is-broke/interview-Kanye(now Ye??)-as-it’s-a-scream-a-minute-and-great-for-meme’s/go-short-GBNews-stock-along-with-twitter-TrumpMedia-and-Parlour.
Or you could just keep doing what you are doing and see where it takes you or where the politicians take your country… (down). Either way it might mean that it's time for you to act - and fast. Probably more chopping block than extra perks. Sorry.
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