Rising foreclosures, unemployment near 10 percent, a $1.5 trillion budget deficit, and Americans are actually feeling better about things? Apparently so. According to The Conference Board's latest Consumer Confidence Index, American consumers are more bullish on the future of the U.S. economy then they've been since December 2007, which is the exact month this whole Great Recession thing got started.
When General Motors executives heard the pitch for a mea culpa TV commercial titled "Reinvention"—which is airing now and ends with the line "The only chapter we're focused on is chapter one"—the brass needed convincing. "They had to man up and own their mistakes," says Eric Hirshberg, president of ad maker Deutsch LA.
History repeats itself, but not without wrinkles. We pick apart the connections: The ComparisonWith the world in a panic over swine flu, it's starting to feel like 2003, when SARS was the raging contagion flooding the news, threatening to wipe out mankind and sending people racing to their local drugstores for cheap masks.
After death, taxes and inclement weather, it's one of life's most inescapable downers: the customer-service call. Getting help can be an automated hell, an eternity of Muzak, code punching and security questions.
Forecasting is a fancy word for trying to predict the future, and it is, to put it mildly, an inexact science. But George Friedman, a political scientist who in 1996 launched the intelligence-gathering company Strategic Forecasting, has gotten pretty good at it.
History repeats itself, but not without a few wrinkles. We make the comparisons, then pick them apart.
They are primal urges, sex and violence, but they seem like polar opposites. They define almost every species, but humans seem capable of keeping them apart.