Black humor. Time to hide the money under the mattress, we joke. I went shopping after the crash, we joke. It’s better than people killing themselves. A friend says there’s an awareness that panic creates panic, that’s why people aren’t killing themselves this time around.

Unreality: some people are really suffering, but they aren’t people I know. My kids’ families were too poor to have bought houses — though perhaps some who moved away moved because they had a new mortgage in the suburbs, and I hope beyond hope that they keep their houses — and my friends either don’t own or are responsible, good-credit buyers.

Interconnectedness: over and over again, I see that this is where people can’t get it right. Things that are very big, very small, totally isolated, those we understand. Things that happen on the scale of organisms, days and weeks, those we have so little grasp of: weather, human health, ecology. And now financial markets. If you know we’re all connected, you can’t let the banks fail. But you can ask how things got to where they are now, with all of us at risk, and why some rich people might still benefit, in the longterm.

Third choices, and fourth: What struck me was the lack of something to be for, when the country was considering the bailout. Bailout, or don’t, were the only options presented. Where were the thinkers coming up with another idea, something you could be for and still feel okay about your stance?

Now what?


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