Life goes on: Economic realities survive terror

Life does go on, as the people of Paris are so powerfully demonstrating.
Life does go on, as the people of Paris are so powerfully demonstrating. ETIENNE LAURENT

IN THE aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, writing anything about their impact on the economy and financial markets always sounds trivial at best, and utterly heartless at worst.

But I'm an economist and I work with a team of people whose job it is to worry about such things on behalf of superannuation fund members.

We need to know whether the Paris tragedy is likely to have lasting, adverse implications for our members' investment returns.

And the short answer is that it probably doesn't.

Even after such a terrible event - whether it's Paris (twice) or Mali in 2015, Sydney in 2014, Boston in 2013, London in 2005, Madrid in 2004, Bali in 2002 and 2005, or New York in September 2001 - day-to-day life resumes, and much faster than people assume it will.

At the end of the day, we all need to work to make a living to feed our families.

We need to be clothed, to be sheltered, but also to communicate, to borrow money, to seek medical care when we're ill, to travel - whether across town or across the world.

No terrorist can eliminate these needs and they can only limit our ability to have these needs met for a very short time, if at all.

In other words, our human lives, our economic lives go on, and in the process a whole range of companies - here in Australia, in the US, Japan, France, and yes in Paris - will continue to provide the goods and services we all need, making a profit, and in the process generating returns for our members and for investors across the world.

Maybe all this explains why these attacks do not move markets or greatly affect the economic outlook as much as some people expect.

These events have happened before and, tragically, it would be foolish in the extreme to deny that they are likely to happen again.

 But life does go on, as the people of Paris are so powerfully demonstrating.

* Brian Parker is Chief Economist with Sunsuper

Topics:  finance investment opinion superannuation terrorism

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