A Question on the Economy

from Ann D’Ercole

As I walk or drive around neighborhoods here and in Europe I’m still struck with how pleased I feel that everything, everywhere is clean, attractive and projects a sense of relative safety compared to the old days when many more decrepit buildings and neighborhoods blighted the world.
A couple of years ago I did start to wonder how it was all being financed. But I was willing to forget that question because I liked what I saw. So, my question to you is in our post 911 collective unconscious could it be that we were all happy to sign onto what appeared to be an equalizing egalitarian world where all neighborhoods were places where people would want to live? We accepted a sign of global prosperity because we wanted one rather than accept 911 as a sign of global disaster.

Dear Ann:

I think you are right that we were all happy to sign on to the evident signs of prosperity, the clean streets, the restored neighborhoods and new cultural buildings — and our increasing retirement portfolios as well.  Behind the facade was a good deal of social inequality less easy to see.  But your main point — and I agree very much — we were complicit.  We did not ask and we did not want to know how it was accomplished.