Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Marketing

Advisor

Molly Rapert

Abstract

With nonstop discussion about the current recession in the government, news, classroom, social media, and any other type of communication outlet, there is seldom a minute that Americans are not impacted by our current economic condition. Constantly, we are faced with pitfalls of the recession, like job loss and a declining house market, but who is to say that the motion of our economy doesn’t follow Newton’s third law stating that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”? Meaning that for each negative this recession brings, might there also be a positive social effect as well? After reading Eyes Wide Open, Wallet Half Shut, I was intrigued to see that the American population is being forced to redefine success and happiness as a result of the recession. Previously, I was the skeptic thinking all that Americans wanted was more success and more money; therefore, this article shed a new light on my cynical ideas. As a thesis student in search of a meaningful research topic, the inability to escape the post-recession environment presented an interesting opportunity to explore this cynicism. My hypothesis is the recession became the long-needed reality check to remind Americans what true happiness means, and this reality check was the secondary outcome of original pains brought through the financial crisis of 2008. I will explore this hypothesis through four main themes:  A brief overview of recession data, including economic effects of the recession on business  A post-recession consumer is emerging  This new, post-recession consumer is redefining values and embracing a new definition of happiness, security, and success  Is there a new sense of meaning that has emerged post-recession offsetting the negative economic effects? Although there are undoubtedly many detrimental economic hardships caused by the recession of 2008, but there also may be many other social benefits that were reaped. The themes above have been analyzed using primary research done within the Northwest Arkansas Area with some responses coming from other states as well as other secondary research. The results are presented in this paper.

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