How to guard against uncertainty. With ups and downs in every economy, savvy businesses prepare for uncertainty by tracking these spend management...
The effect of pandemics on the workforce
Although it has been over two years since the sudden onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, infections and hospitalizations still occur as part of a new norm, with infection waves surging every few months.
The resultant restrictions, place a potential burden on businesses to continue with their daily operations, particularly with the rapid increase in remote working. .
In addition, many businesses are still recovering from the global supply chain setbacks of 2021, and many organizations without flexibility in vendor management and alternate sourcing have seen a decline in profit margins.
The recovery from post-pandemic increased government spending may continue for some time, with inflation and a rising US dollar having a global impact. .
Policymakers appear to have shifted to a more cautious approach to budgetary policy with the goal of bringing inflation under control. These measures are leading to further concerns around a potential economic slowdown
The monetary consequences of war
War and the prolonged, armed conflict between political communities interferes considerably with normal economic activity. Although war may create an opportunistic upside for some businesses , it generally has devastating monetary consequences.
War can lead to further inflationary pressure due to increased government spending as well as shortages of goods and services and the price hikes of commodities, such as oil.
While businesses may not be directly affected by conflict, wars often lead to changes in monetary regimes, particularly if funded by increasing the supply of money, which leads to hyperinflation .
When governments are at war with one another, the national debt is also likely to rise, as military departments get clearance to borrow larger amounts than typically budgeted for, for patriotic effort. In addition, plunging gross domestic product (GDP) due to loss of tourism and investments further impedes economic growth . On average, the economic cost of war in the ten most violence-affected countries globally equates to 41% of their GDP .
All businesses are affected by conflict-induced restrictions on trade, and limited market access, no matter the industry they operate within. Having organizational resilience means that the propensity to act in times of security-related crises may mitigate imminent financial risk.
Economic downturns and crises
After the Great Recession of 2007, authors from the Harvard Business Review began an analysis of corporate performance across 4,700 businesses, during the three previous recessions—the early 1980s recession, the early 1990s recession, and the early 2000s recession. Their study found startling trends per recession period:
- On average, 17% of businesses did not survive each recession.
- Approximately 80% of businesses had not yet attained their previous growth rates in sales and profit margins, three years after the recession.
- Of these, 40% had not even yet achieved near the same level of sales and profits after the three-year period.
- Only 9% of businesses flourished after a slowdown or recession, surpassing industry counterparts by a minimum of 10% growth in sales and profits .
As of the first quarter of 2022, inflation in the United States has been at its highest since the 1970s, before the great recession of the early 1980s. In June, the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 9.1% year-on-year, and the producer price index (PPI) by over 11%. Petrol, diesel, and natural gas costs 200% of what it did in 2020, ocean shipping costs have increased by almost 500%, and the average cost for road freight is also on the rise .
These figures may indicate a shaky economic boom that is not sustainable—many are calling it a slowdown, with some declaring it the beginning of a bust; a typical recession that starts at the peak of the business cycle, as the boom is seemingly ending.
Although the United States is not yet in stagflation—a slowdown or stagnation in economic growth, in the presence of ongoing high inflation—all predictions point to this beginning towards the end of this year and gaining momentum during 2023. With firmer control over monetary policy, the demand for goods and services is being restrained; this is also affected by higher interest rates . This has a direct effect on sales for most companies.
As David Malpass, the World Bank President, states, “The war in Ukraine, lockdowns in China, supply-chain disruptions, and the risk of stagflation are hammering growth. For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid.” 
 H. Schneider, “Gusher of pandemic aid averted global depression, but left a bad hangover,” Reuters, Washington, 2022.
 S. Silbiger, “Central banks will fail to tame inflation without better fiscal policy, study says,” Reuters, Jackson Hole, 2022.
 E. Lakomaa, “The history of business and war: introduction,” Scandinavian Economic History Review, vol. 65, no. 3, pp. 224-230, 2017.
 T. Pettinger, “Economic impact of war,” Economics Help, Oxford, 2022.
Institute for Economics & Peace, “Economic Value of Peace 2021: Measuring the global economic impact of violence and conflict,” Sydney, 2021.
 R. Gulati, N. Nohria and F. Wohlgezogen, “Roaring Out of Recession,” 2010.
 S. Görner, A. Govindarajan, E. Greenberg, A. Kelkar, J. Kelleher, I. Kristensen, L. Liu, A. Padhi, A. Panas and Z. Silverman, “Somethings' coming: How US companies can build resilience, survive a downturn, ad thrive in the next cycle,” McKinsey & Company, 2022.
 B. Conerly, “Stagflation: Causes And When It Will Come,” Forbes, 2022.
 The World Bank, “Stagflation Risk Rises Amid Sharp Slowdown in Growth,” Washington, 2022.