In 1951, Time magazine dubbed US youth born into the Great Depression as the "Silent Generation," berating an entire cohort for being too cautious, introspective and unwilling to engage in the great issues of the day.
Various research studies have indicated that children of previous depressions have tended to return to traditional values. There is a current trend to go "back to basics" in terms of placing greater value on close family and friends and in being more community minded.
While this doesn't exactly raise alarm bells, if people were to become over-cautious, what would it mean for innovation in enterprise in the future?
Innovation requires risk-taking and recessions tend to make people more risk averse. Research by Berkeley University, "Depression Babies: Do Macroeconomic Experiences Affect Risk Taking" indicates that a generational cohort's experience of economic factors, such as stock returns and inflation, has a significant impact on its willingness to bear financial risks at any point in time. So those who experienced high inflation early on were still cautious later in life, even if there was a subsequent boom. The study examined investors in the early 1980s (post-bust) compared to those in the late 1990s (post-boom).
So, perhaps people will be more cautious in the future, but I'm hopeful that the future won't be devoid of measured risk or innovation. The current climate is giving rise to staff retraining in parallel fields and more people are performing cross-functional roles. This could potentially raise ingenuity amongst the broader workforce, as people draw on knowledge from parallel fields.