Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Big Correction

Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, said last week, "we’re literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications here at home and globally.”

It's as if I have been asking myself how I would hold up if something like this were to happen, and now I might actually find out. I feel untested. Unproven. Really scared.

I have no idea what's ahead. So far, I feel no one does. When I hear people discuss the brink, it seems like they, too, have nothing to go on except for their suspicions, their faith, and their hope.

There is much guilt being expressed in the recounting: We have been living too lushly for too long. We have been greedy. We take too much for granted.

The troubled economy as the manifestation of our financial and moral frivolity.

Embedded in the penance is also a hearkening back to a vaguely earlier time or a vision of one in the not too distant future. The time before this modern one, when things and people were good. Or maybe a later time.

In Esquire this month, there are several articles about the 21st Century. Some are grim; some are unrecognizable, as you might imagine the future to be; some are level-headed and optimistic. But one article, by a chef named David Chang, was the perfect illustration of this concept for me:

"You've seen the articles, right there on the front page next to equally uplifting stories about oil, the economy, and the war: The cost of food--of producing and procuring it--is soaring. In the restaurant world, it's all anyone can talk about. And the thing is, this is no temporary spike; it's actually a massive correction."

And that word that has been overused so much lately is so powerful: correction.

Maybe it's nostalgia, for a time and place that has yet to be created. Like they are saying, "I don't know what's ahead. Maybe the end. But I suspect it will be a lot like everything we always wanted."

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