As usual when it comes to the economy, nobody knows exactly what to do about it. This time, let's turn that to our advantage.
The depression has hurt everybody in some way, some profoundly through loss of a home or job, with the lucky ones merely losing a huge chunk of their retirement investments.
Despite the widespread impact and the near-collapse of the banking and credit systems, the experts still are unable to work up a paradigm that tells us that if we do A, then B will result.
We may have thought economics seemed like a science after seeing the textbooks and diagrams of college classrooms, but it is not.
It remains unclear whether the $1 trillion-plus in bailout and recovery money will pull us out of the tailspin, but our government's traditional way of attacking problems is to throw money at them. And I haven't heard too many alternative proposals offered.
Some quibble about how much we're spending or where the money's being directed, but few believe the government should do nothing. President Obama has loudly proclaimed that he refused to not act for fear of a complete economic meltdown.
For decades now, our economy has been based on greed and debt, so the temptation certainly exists on the part of those who have not reaped the spoils to say, ``Just let the system die and we'll build a new, more just, more planned, more democratic economy.''
But who is willing to take that risk, and perhaps create decades of hardship and suffering before we can rebuild our economy _ with no guarantee we'll end up with better lives?
Where is the philosopher-king who could lead us through that quagmire and back out into a system of goods and services, and supply and demand, based on products we really need that are good for ourselves, our children and the Earth?