Zuboff on ‘the Frozen Economy’
I’m digging Shoshana Zuboff’s column in Business Week (actually, to my surprise, I’m finding a lot of swell stuff to read in Business Week) about observing the economic panic of her neighbors in Maine.
She invokes the Great Depression and dramatically, but also bravely, she proposes opening our conversation about the economy way, way up:
"Discontinuous change will require a bold reexamination of our social contract and the rules of wealth creation in a global system. Thawing the frozen economy will entail reinvention of our public and private institutions, especially as they bear on health, education, finance, and energy."
She’s a former Harvard Business School professor and she has a book out called The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism. Anybody read it? I’m thinking of adding it to the Goodreads queue.
I’ve found myself thinking about the economy a lot as I walk around New York City these recent days. The last time I felt personally touched by the cold, clammy hands of macroeconomics was back in 2001 when I was living in Oregon, which was particularly hard-hit by the burst of the technology bubble, which primarily had the effect on me of making it tough to find my first real job.
This time I’m a little older and I feel more a part of the adult economic world. I’m not sure how current developments are going to affect my choices, or if they will; for now, the economic situation mostly occurs to me, like a mantra, as I walk around and look at all the commerce that’s so in-your-face here, as my eyes graze over a sunglasses-and-pashmina stand on the street, while I’m at the farmer’s market and the grocery store, while I’m noticing that the fall stuff has come into the clothing stores. ‘Hey,’ goes the mantra. ‘We’re in a recession!’
2001 was rough but it seems to have passed. I wonder how bad this one’s going to get. It seems to me that people are invoking changes in the whole world-system this time, in a way they weren’t back then. I wish, not for the first time, that I had been able to take some econ classes in college.