Your Opinion: History continues to repeat itself
Friday, August 5, 2011
My guess is there are senators, representatives and administration officials right now that are proud of their accomplishments of the last day or two. Then again, there are likely some who are disillusioned at not getting more out of the “balanced deal.”
At least on the bright side, the nation has narrowly escaped default, at least for a while. For this old curmudgeon, I have just seen the proverbial can kicked further down that road.
For me, I see history repeating itself yet again. A noted economist, Nouriel Roubini, has published a book entitled “Crisis Economics” in which he and his co-author, Stephen Minm, a historian, trace boom-and-bust cycles back to the mid ages. Perhaps our societies are more like Aesop’s grasshopper than the ant who stored supplies in anticipation of winter.
I for one was born during the Great Depression and recall the devastation that was heaped upon our society. Later I learned that it was caused by the “excessive exuberance” of the wealthy in the late 1920’s. Thanks to the Keynesian economics of the Roosevelt administration, we were on the road to recovery.
Arguably it was the Second World War that made us into the most financially solid nation at the time. That and the Breton Woods Accord that established the gold standard, the United States experienced growth and prosperity that we might not see for a long time, if ever. It was also a combination of strict regulation of the financial industry, and the education for young men and women from the GI Bill that set us on the path of prosperity for decades until recent times.
Perhaps it began with the elimination of the gold standard by President Nixon, the gradual rise of the power of the financial industry and the grasp of the wealthy upon our government that has brought us to this point. There is an old saying that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.
If that is true, I hope my children are fast learners so they can improve conditions for my great-grandchildren.