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If you’re just hanging on, are you already dead?

February 10, 2013

Zombie Households, the personal computer, struggling zombie companies. Do you have your go bag ready? If you’re just hanging on, are you already dead?

Motley Fool: “Lenovo’s Still Putting Zombies to Work” by Richard Saintvilus:

The constant worry of the death of the personal computer business should no longer be considered as “imminent” — it’s already arrived.

But see “Living the zombie life” by Sherry Ficklen:

being dead is less painful than being alive. I guess I cannot argue with the zombie’s theory on that one. But it made me think about my own safe mode, and although it may be a little extreme, comparing it to being dead. … I guess what I am saying is that zombie made me think that, sometimes, some things in life (or death, in his case) are worth taking a chance. Even if the outcome is not desirable, without it, life really does just pass.

But now is a world of zero percent financing (“zero dark thirty” year mortgages) So if you are just hanging and letting it pass, then you are actually going backward.

Are you already a “Zombie Household”? Take the quiz at This is Money: “Are you a zombie household? How to spot if you are on the road to nowhere” by Financial Mail — and see also This is Money: “‘Super zombie’ households face disaster – even without an increase in loan rates” by Dan Atkinson:

one million or more ‘zombie households’ face instant insolvency the moment interest rates return to normal comes new research today uncovering a sub-category of ‘super-zombies’.


Zombie households are made up of those individuals and families who are barely keeping afloat financially and who would slip beneath the waves were the current level of interest rates – the lowest in more than 300 years – to return to anything like normal.

And a third “zombie” article in This is Money: “TAKING STOCK: Zombie curse must be ended without an all-out massacre” by Simon Watkins:

In one corner are those who argue that the banks’ forbearance is welcome, that it has helped to keep a lid on company failures and unemployment and that these zombies will be productive once the economy starts to recover.

In the opposing camp is the view that zombie firms are an obstacle to recovery. The argument goes that capital is tied up in them that could more productively be invested elsewhere. Banks are resisting closing some firms because they cannot bear to face their own losses as a result.

In this view, what is needed is a dose of what the early 20th Century Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called ‘creative destruction’. The zombies must be killed off so capital can be freed for reinvestment.


The IFT has also unveiled an Anti-Zombie Toolkit for small and medium-sized ventures so they can work out if they are at risk of becoming one and how to revive themselves.

Any attempt to tackle the issue without resort to extremes is welcome. We do not need an indiscriminate massacre.

However, even in a more considered approach, we must be under no illusions – some zombies must die for others to be cured.

See also The Drum: “How Maurice Levy and Sir Martin Sorrell avoid becoming zombies” by Barry Dudley explaining “zombie companies”

has a politically charged meaning. In some quarters (including as august a journal as the FT), zombies are considered to have an unfair advantage through things such as government-backed financing breaks, versus their non-zombie competitors who have little chance of utilising such initiatives; and they’ve even been accused of holding back economic recovery


Nobody likes to see familiar names like HMV, Woolworths, Jessops, Blockbuster or Comet disappear from our high streets but, truth be told, they were all effectively zombies, working on out-dated business models and limping along on borrowed time.

Recall ZombieLaw on Zombie Brands re: Hostess Twinkie but also note the role of digital Africa as a virtual replay of last century’s European trade routes in colonial Africa – (Cf. Dutch East India Company and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness = “Apocalypse Now”).

The number of independent big fish still swimming free in the pond is diminishing, but new start ups will hatch and eventually be snatched up. The land grab goes on, and losers in the marcomms “scramble for Africa” will have a zombified future to contemplate.

So in the meantime, prepare yourself – PC Magazine: “Walking Dead: Tech for Surviving A Zombie Apocalypse” by Ahmer Kazi has five cool tech items for your apocalypse go-bag (or next camping trip) and also some important advice:

a zombie apocalypse really boils down to a game of attrition, so it’s crucial that you find an isolated place where you can regroup with you fellow survivors and create a makeshift community that can wait out the hellish apocalypse raging outside

And for those really interested in prepping, get out of your zombie household by starting your own business; “How much is that zombie in the window?” by James Lanaras:

the Windsor couple decided to open the Plan B Survival Store on the Town Green.

It’s the shop with the chemical zombie rising out of a bucket in the front window.

“Plan A is what you’re doing every day right now, like going to work,” said Moench, 38. “Plan B is emergency preparedness.”

With reminder to pack extra socks:

The [Plan B Survival Store‘s] bug-out bag has three days’ supply of food and water, radio, blankets, flashlights and batteries and changes of clothing’ especially socks.

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