I've got this illness. I suppose it is called optimism. I tend to be optimistic to the point of being naive. So, when I look at the world-wide economic crisis I do see opportunity. Not that I think Harper should have said that this presents good buying opportunities for Canadians (even though he's actually right) but in that I think something really good is going to come out of all of this.
I think it is possible that we could develop a much nicer way of doing things in the future. The way things have been is not always an indicator of how things will become. I mean that though we have certain expectations and understandings of how economics run we have those ideas based only upon what we have seen in our short lives and not upon any other sort of higher power. We really have no idea what the future will hold and we are too frequently limiting what we expect is possible. Someone said that the difference between fiction and fact is that fiction has to be credible, or something along those lines. Who said that, anyone know?
Anyway, I think there is a chance that a new economic system could arise. That economic system could be more just than the one we have now. I think people are really angry at the simple fact that those who caused the economic problems are not suffering but the average person is. I think people are upset by this whole "privatize profits and subsidize losses" thing that we have been going with. I think the Washington consensus is quickly becoming part of history and that something new is going to take shape.
I don't think it's going to look anything like what the old Socialist systems looked like, but I think it might be a bit closer to what Marx prescribed than what Locke did. I can see the basic outline beginning to take shape and I think I would like to do some in depth research on this once things begin to settle a bit.
There is never any reason to think things are going to always stay the same and I think people should be aware that this economic situation could, and likely will have some benefits. It's hard to think like that when you can't pay the bills...I for one had a rough couple of months partly over the economic problems in Thailand and it seems to me that no one has any money here now, but this needed to happen. We've all been living in this sort of economic bubble and it had to break. There are interesting historical parallels that take into account the wealth of the average person and the overall strength of the economy.
One book I'd like to read soon is what Margaret Atwood recently wrote on debt. She is by no means an economist, but why should economics be only the realm of economists? Perhaps we need more art in economics.