Friday, September 11, 2009

Do Events Change How We Think (and Choose)?

I think the answer is an obvious "yes." However, others (including some who don't buy into "rational expectations") might choose to disagree.

However, even if you don't agree with that school of thought, I would think that if the experience is deep enough and wide enough to become part of the national identity, it should have some impact on personal choice. Those of us with parents or grandparents who lived through the Great Depression (and World War II), or even those of us who remember the 1970s inflation and/or stock market "crash" of 1987 have those events and lessons learned floating around in our memory. Consequently, I believe they become part of our informal institutional structure, shaping our choices in subtle ways.

There's an interesting article in The Atlantic that asks what the effect of The Great Recession will be on our lives and our lifestyles. I've not had time to do more than react to it, but I think it makes an interesting point. Things won't be the same. They won't be "better" or "worse." That's a matter of opinion. They'll just be different. It can't help but be different.

I hope you share your thoughts.

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