Having lived my eight decades -- and proud of it -- I am able to say that this is not the worst time in our history or in my lifetime. Race riots and lynchings were rampant during my early years -- segregation and injustice abounded, but there was a sense that for all the unspeakable cruelties we were going forward -- that the country was better than the crimes that a few committed.
During the 1930s renowned photographer Berenice Abbott embarked on a five year documentation of the gritty streets of Depression Era New York City. Inspired by Eugene Atget's photo documentary series of Paris, Abbott sought to document the ever transforming streets of New York to serve as a record of the history of America.
A new and alarming mash-up of Silicon Valley technology and Wall Street greed is thrusting upon us the latest economic fad: the so-called "sharing economy." In reality, workers at companies like Uber and Airbnb have little choice but to hire themselves out for ever-smaller jobs and wages, with no safety net, while the companies profit.
The only cure for the world's malaise is an increase in aggregate demand. Far-reaching redistribution of income would help, as would deep reform of our financial system -- not just to prevent it from imposing harm on the rest of us, but also to get banks and other financial institutions to do what they are supposed to do: match long-term savings to long-term investment needs.
Looking at the big picture, in the twenty-first century education may be as vital to national defense as military defense. If that is the case, then free college education should not be a question but an answer. The only real question is: do we have the courage and will to implement it? If we do, it's possible now.
Are we one step closer to a Congress that sees the need to boost spending in order to boost jobs and economic output for years to come, as we asked in our last column? It could mean the U.S. Congress has finally seen the folly of austerity policies that shrink growth, as has happened in Europe. Or, it could be because of a so-called "emergency."