October 29, 2021- Ninety-two years ago today, the Universe reacted to nearly a decade of excess and careless handling of finances, across many strata of society. Today, there was a modest amount of give and take, in the financial markets and they ended the month of October on a mildly upbeat note.
Ninety years ago, with a year left before the Presidential Election of 1932, what was left of the nation’s business elite was blaming the entire mess on “shiftless workers”, who “expect handouts”. Today, there is little changed, in that regard. The difference is that the philosophical heirs of that elite are blaming Unemployment Compensation and Social Security, as well as “lazy workers”, for what is largely a supply chain jam-up, caused by a variety of factors-only a few of which are independently verifiable. Much remains in the realm of speculation, and thus is beyond the purview of this web log.
Eighty-nine years ago, a president who was in over his head was replaced by a man who had been governor of the most populous state in the Union and who had a fair amount of experience in the financial markets. It was a gargantuan task that greeted that successor, and it took him the better part of three terms in office to promulgate a recovery. Today, we are a nation in gradual recovery from a worldwide disease pandemic, a year after another president who struggled was replaced-by a somewhat more seasoned public official-who is also struggling.
The difference between then and now is that we are faced with the ambiguity that comes from too much contradictory and rapidly flowing information. Most people are at their worst, when faced with ambiguity. No one likes to be wrong, so shades of gray flummox us. Good guys aren’t supposed to wear black hats. Villains are supposed to lack virtue. The fog is supposed to clear by Noon.
When the fog does clear, though, we see that there are all manner of contradictions-and no one gets off scot-free. The physical disease will lose its pandemic status, probably in less than a year. The disease of ego gratification will take longer to curb-and will entail some loud voices, coming from ungainly personages-on both sides of the aisle, being rendered silent-by the power of the voting booth. We will, each and all, be left with the challenge of learning to listen to those who see things differently than we.
It would be well to resume, or at least start, that process now.