By now, everyone has registered that we are in a severe recession. We have gone through denial, and we have gone through anger. I wonder, though, whether we have arrived at acceptance and action or whether we are currently going through bargaining, and when that fails, have yet to go through depression.
What do I mean? At the moment, we are still quarreling over the cuts to make. No. We are still quarreling over whether to make cuts. This is not action. This is bargaining. We are still hoping to propitiate the gods.
We flood the Gulf of Mexico with oil and we are surprised when ace negotiator, Barack Obama gives us a bill larger than the additional taxes we need to pay to clear up the credit crunch. We definitely aren’t that far along, are we?
Anticipating life after the recession
That doesn’t stop me trying to anticipate the end game, though. It struck me today that the essence of much of our debates is a rather abstract question: what will be the relative roles of our economic and social lives?
Many pundits think our economic lives will become marginal, not because we will be poor but because we simply don’t have to work so hard to meet our basic needs. (I can hear you tell me to talk for myself!)
But the structure of economic life is the central question we face and within that question is the question of the relative roles of economic and social lives.
Where will work fit into our lives after the recession?
Within this question is the role that economic activity plays in a healthy existence. We like to work. We may not always like the conditions of our employment or or relative status, but we like to work.
Poet David Whyte thinks our character is tempered by the fires of work. We express ourselves through economic exchanges. We grow through economic exchanges.
Maybe this question should be the starting point of imagining our radically different collective futures. What kind of economic interchanges do we believe are worth pursuing?