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10 reasons to love a recession

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If you've long coveted an SUV, make your move now. Heck, you may drive away with a year or two of free gas in the deal.

Business startup opportunities
What do Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Disney have in common? They all started during economic downturns, as did more than half of the 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones industrial average.

In fact, entrepreneurial startups by laid-off and downsized employees, managers and executives often help get the economy growing again.

Recessions are a great time to open your own shop: Wages are down, rents are cheaper, competition is scarce and the cost of goods and services can be found at a discount. There's no better time to become your own boss.

Growth in gardening
A recession is the perfect time to get back to nature. Bid your lawn service adieu and put your mind and body to work tending your grounds yourself.

The benefits are numerous. Regular gardening provides cardio and strength training, improves flexibility and relieves stress. These health benefits help fight heart attack, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

The fruits and vegetables you grow also encourage a healthier diet. And the money you save by mowing, raking, pruning and mulching yourself will more than pay for your equipment, fuel and next year's plantings.

Musical inspiration
Do economic downturns inspire great music? A case can be made that hard times help produce heartfelt anthems that cut through the anesthetic musical drone of the day. This has been true of everyone from Woody Guthrie to Bruce Springsteen to the Clash and even Kurt Cobain.

Given the current state of popular music and its obsession with an affluence that is quickly disappearing, the climate would seem right for the emergence of new artists who can rekindle passion and urgency in American music.

New perspectives
Perhaps the greatest boon of a recession is the time to reflect and reassess the true meaning and goals of our lives.

For instance, it's doubtful that today's green movement would be where it is today without the small-is-beautiful mental reset of the '70s.

If history is any indication, we humans are inclined to resume our consumption full speed once the economic engine starts rolling again. But our progress toward a more sustainable future comes in increments during those times when we are forced to do without.

We may not be the ideal stewards of the planet yet, but we're making progress. Temporary setbacks like recessions prompt our collective course corrections.'s corrections policy -- Posted: June 25, 2008
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