A Deepening Crisis

There is trouble in the land. Things are not right and the signs confront us daily. The mainstream media focuses on politics and the economy, but we know it goes far deeper.

The illness is shows itself in violence and bitterness, in material deprivations, in the degradation of human dignity and loss of responsibility. Many of us share a sinking feeling. We are afraid of the future, and increasingly we fear one another.

A wide range of crises are emerging into view or loom on the horizon.

I have surveyed some of these threats in Chapter Two of the book project, “A Confluence of Crises,” where I note that many are interrelated. And, I have argued that Americans must pull together despite our differences, both for self-preservation and to ensure the survival of the American republic.

The broad theme running through this blog (and forthcoming book) is the necessity for Americans to work together shoulder-to-shoulder to meet local needs and resolve local problems. As difficult as this prospect may seem, I do not believe we have a choice.

However, my purpose here is not to warn of impending crises, but to prepare us to remain positive in mind and spirit – to get us through a dark and chaotic time, and out the other side.

We face a long crisis. A constructive response needs to be mounted even as we withstand hardships and disasters.

We are challenged as Americans to rebuild the foundations of the nation in preparation for a future we can respect and believe in. This will require courage and steady determination. Even when we cannot see our way clearly, we must keep our focus on the ends we seek.

In the coming weeks I will offer a broad overview of issues that I think should be taken into consideration as we think about a future beyond this upheaval. We will need to have a realistic understanding of circumstances if we are to progress intelligently, rationally, avoiding wrong turns and hidden dangers.

The most important consideration in all this, in my view, is recognition of the structural nature of the transition. We have arrived at an historic turning point, both as Americans and as human beings. We are experiencing massive structural change.

Structural change takes place outside the realm of our normal experience and expectations. It is caused by events beyond our control.

Examples would include an aging population with insufficient savings, bankrupt governments and institutions, the unprecedented complexity of economic distortions and disruptions, the uncontrolled advance of extraordinary technologies, and the threat of terrorism – all developments that have little to do with partisan politics.

That mistakes have been made and illusions foolishly pursued is undeniable. But, very big changes are taking place that are actually not anyone’s fault.

I have focused attention on values and principles in recent blog posts because, as a practical matter, we are entering new territory. We can only navigate safely with principles that are valid and dependable.

To think of the future in terms of recovering the past will not be helpful. We must pick ourselves up, hit the reset button, and move forward in a manner that is congruent with a rapidly changing reality.

You see, there is a reason the bankers and their economists are not succeeding at returning the economic condition of the United States to some semblance of order. They have proceeded as though they are dealing with a cyclical crisis rather than a structural crisis. And, as long as they continue to do so, there will be no recovery.

Why don’t they understand this? Well, some of them do. But, few dare to speak openly because the financial world would panic.

Why do they continue with a strategy that cannot possibly succeed? Well, there is a reason for that, too. Central bankers (and governments) are trapped between a rock and a hard place.

In the coming weeks we will address the ways a rapidly changing world is changing our lives. We must move past our emotions even as the world is driven over a cliff – because our grandchildren deserve a rational inheritance. And that depends on us.

Tom

Next week: Why the bankers are trapped.

Note to readers: You can support this blog and the book project by recommending that your friends and associates take a look.

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