Browsing the economy sections of news websites for the past five or six years has been really depressing. They are full of headlines that would lead you to believe we are in bad situation that is only going to get worse. However, if you look at the situation historically, the economy has always had highs and lows. It’s cyclical. The thing that would be unprecedented would be for the economy to hit a low, stay there for five years, and then sink again. Yet that fact doesn’t stop people from fearing impending doom.
It’s a lot like the Existentialist movement after World War II. There was an overriding fear of a World War III that would be more brutal and cost more lives. Out of that period comes my favorite book 1984, in which that very thing happens leading to dark future. However, historically there are periods of peace following periods of war, much like the highs and lows of the economy. It’s easy for me to say this looking back, knowing that there hasn’t been a more horrific war for 70 years, but the pattern held before World War II.
I’m not immune to this. I’m more pessimistic about the economy than I should be given what I’m saying. It’s just hard to not fear the twists and turns of the economy when everyone else is. It’s a sort of mob mentality. So I guess in addition to creating an Orwellian world, existentialism has also created a Frankensteinian one.