Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Do We Face A Lost Generation, A Lost Decade Or Worse
Whether it was Ernest Hemingway, or his writer-mentor Gertrude Stein, who coined the term "the lost generation," turned out to be perhaps the most understated prediction in history. Made in the last years of World War I and the years that followed, it was hoped it would at least be the war to end all wars.
Archives estimate 17 million died, 10 million military and seven million civilians, according to Wikipedia. The death in World War II and the Holocaust that accompanied it was put at 60 million.
The point of the lost generation was that the wounded and dead were only a part of the toll. Many people lost the spirit to rebuild, even if it was possible.
Although the world had far more powerful weapons during the Cold War 30 years later, the worst was avoided.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, using much milder language, is predicting that if bold, worldwide action is not taken quickly there will be a "lost decade."
Lagarde, whose tough face would make her the most sinewy cut of beef on fine restaurant menus, is calling on all governments to make the cuts in spending and investment in growth necessary.
The U.S., still the most powerful economy in the world, isn't doing it. The will to raise taxes is missing, though the nation hasn't had the violence that has occurred in many other countries _ yet.
Two European prime ministers, George Papandreou of Greece and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, this week announced they would step down to get their people and opposition to accept cuts even steeper than the trillion already made around the globe.
Before what is needed can be done the angry public must be convinced control of government power will be taken from banks, many say. Banks too-big to fall have profited while millions lost their homes and jobs.
Rich countries like the U.S. are spending fortunes on wars while taxes are lowered.
In Denver, an active center of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the focus now is on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said corporations are real people, and have the rights of people.