One month later, I still think one of the best, possibly the best, think piece that I've seen about the economic crisis is Paul Krugman's The Widening Gyre column in the New York Times in late October.
His first paragraph:
Economic data rarely inspire poetic thoughts. But as I was contemplating the latest set of numbers, I realized that I had William Butler Yeats running through my head: "Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer; / Things fall apart; the center cannot hold."
He refers one of the few poems I know relatively well. Its last line is
And what great beast, its hour come round at last, slouches its way to Bethlehem to be born?
Krugman also refers to the leadership crisis in the United States. His conclusion is:
What's happening, I suspect, is that the Bush administration's anti-government ideology still stands in the way of effective action. Events have forced Mr. Paulson into a partial nationalization of the financial system -- but he refuses to use the power that comes with ownership.
Whatever the reasons for the continuing weakness of policy, the situation is manifestly not coming under control. Things continue to fall apart.
Unfortunately, looking from one month later, that has been way too true. Bailouts, crisis of confidence and all, the lame duck government's absence has been very obviously part of the problem.
Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Prize a while back for his work in Economics. He's been chillingly accurate these last few months about our economic crisis. He should get a Pulitzer to add to his award shelf, not exactly for his work in economics, but for his writing about the economic mess.