Like so many Americans, I’ve been waiting for that promised light at the end of the economic tunnel, but I’ve come to the conclusion that all we are going to see for the foreseeable future is the bottom of the economic barrel. Today’s massive stock market drop is, I am afraid, the sort of swing we will see more and more.
Unlike all the pundits, left and right, who know with absolute certainty just why we can’t shake off the recession, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a tangled and complicated number of things, some of which we could control if we had political will, some of which is global in nature and difficult or impossible to manage, and some of which is structural. The structural elements can be ameliorated but not reversed.
The question that scares me is this: if, in fact, my suspicions are correct and the economic picture is going to be fairly bleak for several years, what effect will that have on our political and social systems? We don’t have a very good track record of dealing rationally with economic adversity.