Bob Letcher: Remember the ad, “This is not your Father’s Oldsmobile.”—the one with Captain Kirk beaming into his daughter’s Oldsmobile? Well, these days, there isn’t anyone’s Oldsmobile anymore; not yours, not your Father’s, not Captain Kirk’s… it’s all just gone: the nameplate, the jobs, the factories, the towns—and the lights have been turned out. And that’s just at Oldsmobile.
Robert Letcher: Conflicting interests aren’t the only obstacle, either. Ambiguities run through and through the whole matter. I myself benefit from technological breakthroughs that have elevated me from only a bit better than existing into really living. I tell people that I know how Lou Gehrig felt.
Robert Letcher: For decades until the recent economic “troubles”, middle classes readily bought into the elite-serving argument: if we don’t question the morality of—and possible connections between—extreme poverty and extreme wealth, elites will act to assure that most of us will never be as poor as those poor Haitians (best delivered with a Glenn Beck quiver).
To me, that makes education crucial to this country’s future. What will be required to avoid losing? If people detect either that they are no longer being challenged by their work, or if they find themselves reading beer bottle labels under tables, then I would suspect that the country is on its way to History’s Great Dustbin.
“The long memory is the most radical idea in America.” –Utah Phillips, as recalled by Amy Goodman I was reminded of Utah Phillips’ observation as I sat down to write this essay on how we approach public policy for dealing with unemployment during a time of mass unemployment. I intended to start off the essay [...]
“Is there anything in all of that to suggest a way forward”, a colleague asked me, “or are we just stuck here?” This essay draws on Mancur Olson’s “logic of collective action” to address this question by interpreting two anecdotes through Olson’s logic: both anecdotes involve short-sightedness, and in very different ways both involve the [...]