Our Lazy Summer Economy
Almost two years ago I wrote An Economy At Rest, Stays at Rest. The title has held up. I also predicted defaulting debt. That hasn’t happened.
What fascinates me is that though we have avoided massive bankruptcies, we ended up in a post-bankruptcy economy, nonetheless.
- Missing items on the local super market. Fortunately, missing items come back and then others disappears for a while.
- Help-wanted signs everywhere for jobs no one wants
- Mostly empty office districts
- War in Europe; Chinese ballistic missiles over Taiwan
- A virus that keeps many people at home
I feel as if we’re living in a post-crash economy where our memories of the crash were erased. Is there a recession? It’s hard for me to figure.
I haven’t lost much work, if anything, I gained business last year.
Yet if the economy is doing well why aren’t we building more cars? Why aren’t the airlines flying more planes? Why is there an excess inventory of tool boxes at Home Depot while down the road Stop-and-Shop is out of Raisin Bran?
The weird things is, if bankruptcies start tomorrow, would we notice? Sure, people would lose their jobs. Since most people work from home would we notice? Housing costs would go down. Again, would it change the conversation we have with our neighbor about the weather?
There’s another weirdness. Some of my readers have pointed out many of my predictions have been wrong (guilty!) That I have become less optimistic. The weird part is that I’ve been fairly happy for the last two years, especially after I gave up coffee (though I am drinking it again, but at 80% of where I was at two years ago).
For all my sky-is-falling writing lately, things are good. I work in about 50-square feet of space and am as snug as the proverbial bug-in-a-rug.
I’m glad I’m not in Russia, Ukraine, China, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, North Africa and many other places who suffer more than a long line at the airport.
I appreciate my good luck.
Those of us who survive the pandemic have a chance to start over.
I am lucky to have such nice readers and dare I say friends on Medium. Although no one has given me advice, I’ve taken what they’ve said to heart. Going forward, I’ll try to focus more on what’s happening today than predicting tomorrow. I’ll try to keep one of my favorite poems in mind.
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
I have heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow,
Of poets that are always gay,
For everybody knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out,
Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
Until the town lie beaten flat.
All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That’s Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.
On their own feet they came, or on shipboard,
Camel-back, horse-back, ass-back, mule-back,
Old civilisations put to the sword.
Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
No handiwork of Callimachus
Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
Made draperies that seemed to rise
When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
His long lamp chimney shaped like the stem
Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
All things fall and are built again
And those that build them again are gay.
Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in Lapis Lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instrument.
Every discolouration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.