David McWilliams: Tyranny of short-termism contributing to housing crisis

Metrics we use to fix this problem need to be based on politics of preparation, not of outrage

We have been hijacked by an obsession with now and getting results straight away. Photograph: iStock

We have been hijacked by an obsession with now and getting results straight away. Photograph: iStock

Our world is terrorised by short-term thinking. We are living longer but thinking shorter. So many aspects of our lives are now governed by instant gratification from Insta likes to Twitter notification on our mobile devices. TikTok thinks YouTube isn’t short enough.

In our working world, people expect emails will be answered immediately. WhatsApp groups bark for attention. Amazon urges us to “Buy now”. Netflix tracks our habits, reminding us of the next “must watch” mini-series. We are increasingly out of breath. In business, chief executives are obsessed by quarterly results. Shareholder value demands immediate profit. In the financial markets, Bitcoin surges and then collapses, driven in part by the oppressiveness of nanosecond algorithm trading.

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