Daily Archives: September 14, 2008

I don’t know anything about economics, but I know this is bad.

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I know almost nothing about economics. I have to admit I don’t even know what a stock is, despite many explanations by many people. Some people have told me it just doesn’t fit with my kind of brain. Other people have told me I didn’t grow up with rich enough parents to be immersed in this kind of talk the way some other kids were (when we covered this in school, I was the only kid in my class whose dad didn’t invest — not that I retained a lot of learning from school anyway). Still other people have told me that the reason I can’t comprehend it is because it’s inherently self-contradictory on many levels and everyone sort of pretends it makes sense, and I’m not good at doing that, or something. Regardless, it’s just not a subject I have ever been good at, it might as well be gibberish as far as I’m concerned. (And I don’t even know stuff that I was immersed in, like credit, well enough to be confident in using them. This is the biggest reason why I have never had a credit card — I don’t dare mess with money in ways I don’t understand, and I understand it less than the average person does.)

Whatever is going on, and whatever my lack of understanding, I know that this can’t be good.

The New York Times seems to have several stories on the topic. That is one of them. It’s also the top story on Google News, with 2223 related articles the last I was able to search it, and every time I look there’s a different headline at the top.

I’m told that economists have been predicting this sort of thing for awhile, but everyone’s been distracted.

I’m also told that we have a chance of patching this up for a little while, but it’s only a patch-up, and things are likely to be really screwed up for awhile.

I hope that people are able to see that this sort of thing matters more than whether people agree on a lot of other things. Just like a lot of crises matter more than individual differences of opinion (the way the environment is going is another one that seems hopelessly mired in the worst kind of politics (the kind most people think of when they hear “politics”, not the kind of politics I usually try to involve myself with)). This is one of those things where people have to get past their own ego and look at the bigger picture no matter who they are. I’m just afraid that the most powerful people, won’t do that, they’ll be too busy point-scoring against each other to even notice what to do. I hope to be proved wrong.

Larry Arnold has repeatedly warned against choosing political candidates entirely on the basis of their stance on autism-related issues — things like climate change, for instance, are a heck of a lot more pressing. And as he frequently notes, in the autism and autistic communities people often lose sight of the fact that we are only one form (or at any rate, a small number of forms) of neurological variance, and neurological variance is only one set of the variances that comprise disability, and disabled people are only one part of the human race. It is true, that some of us (me included) are thinking of the larger picture while only able to write about pieces of it (because of a combination of our own limitations around language, and the limitations of language itself), and that many of us have a lot more thoughts on a lot of things than we can express at any one time. But it is also true that at some point that people who can address these things explicitly at any given point, need to do so.

I’m not saying conflict is bad. Conflict over the right things is absolutely essential. But before you jump into conflict-mode, make sure it’s over the right things. And whatever you do, don’t be like a bunch of North-Going Zaxes and South-Going Zaxes clinging to their mental widgets for dear life while things they could actually do something about are falling apart around them in the real world that those widgets are directing them away from (like a weaving a charmed web alway, and all that — does combining Dr. Seuss and Tennyson in the same breath mean I’m up too late?). There’s a time and a place — make sure it’s that time and that place.

And I hope that people will actually work together to solve these various more universal problems, rather than getting lost in the endless discussion of who is opposed to which thing that has nothing to do with this, or only tangentially is related. I have nothing to contribute in terms of knowledge of economics, and none of the powerful people will likely read this. But I am often capable of recognizing a situation where it’s important to put aside other differences while working on a problem. And this is certainly one of those situations. I don’t expect the people with the most power to be reading this or anything, but I hope that this will at least remind people who do read it to think twice when they recognize themselves losing focus on what is important. “People who do read it” includes me, and I’m writing this as much to remind myself as any other given person.