Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Biggest Concern

I'm afraid we're losing our perception of what a diverse and truly desirable marketplace actually consists of. Also, we appear to be in danger of losing the vitality of the one which still exists. There is a certain amount of over confidence in particular, regarding the ability to maintain strong economic conditions in spite of lagging labor force participation and excessive requirements for access. Equally concerning, are growing negative reactions to capitalism as concept - most of which are actually reactions to the forces that threaten to destroy true marketplace freedom and economic mobility.

Even though no major economic depression has (yet) occurred in my lifetime, sometimes I'm still reminded of the last one. Yesterday, while sitting down to sandwiches and some fresh vegetables, Dad recounted a memory from 1932, that was triggered by a jar of Miracle Whip dressing on the table. Perhaps his recollection would not have been so vivid, were it not for the unfortunate combination of depression circumstance alongside an unexpected hurricane in the coastal town where they lived at the time.

That storm took place well before the days of what one might consider sufficient advance preparation. Everyone - including some less fortunate neighbors - was lucky indeed that the old wooden frame house was not blown apart. Instead, during the storm, it fell off the block supports which were underneath. For days afterward, there was no electricity or gas. Meanwhile, the only meals for the kids were a loaf of bread and - yes - the aforementioned jar of salad dressing. "I couldn't eat Miracle Whip for a long time after that! Times were hard.", Dad said. Then he mused, how on earth did Grandpa get by without coffee?

It's too easy now, to assume that high levels of social unpreparedness are no longer a problem for most populations in developed nations. But is this really so? Multiple systems of social coordination appear to be slowly breaking down. Each time something negative occurs, people react to the results of the problems that weren't previously resolved, instead of responding to issues as they present themselves.

There is too little recognition of the mutual responsibilities between government and private interests, which would otherwise help people maintain the liberties and freedoms they take for granted. Private interests use governments to destroy competition, while governments continue to maintain infrastructure expectations that were based on historic high points of tradable sector revenue.

As a result, young individuals are increasingly priced out of the very places where they would normally expect to begin their lives as adults. I can scarcely imagine how difficult life would have been for me, if I had not been able to gain good work while starting out in the seventies - even without the completion of a college degree. There is no comparison for those attempting to enter the workplace now. Even though there were periods when unemployment was high, the levels of economic access were still far greater for all concerned.

We need to rethink how it will be possible to work with one another in the near future, and closely consider what it takes to maintain our personal freedoms. I fear that our political representatives have lost the ability to coordinate the resource capacity among populations which would allow the gains of recent centuries to remain intact. This political season only illustrates how high the stakes actually are, in terms of an economic and social trajectory that is anything but normal. I know it's not easy to think about economic basics when everyone is in a state of reactionary fervor. But there is simply no other time to do so, because the next election season always overrides anything else that is going on. It's time to back up and reassess our situation while we still can.

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