The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

93° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Great Recession can bring out the best in very bad times

    For people who have been economy-watching lately (something that has become less of a hobby and more of a necessity), the recent grim debate about whether or not the nation is about to enter a “double-dip” recession might seem a little puzzling. Judging by the most popular definition of a recession, which requires two consecutive economic quarters of negative growth, the country has indeed been out of recession for awhile now, but there is doubt as to whether it will remain that way. Economic indicators may say that there is no recession, and that is empirically accurate, of course, but human hearts will tell you that the feeling rather than the economic concept of the “Great Recession” has done anything but passed.

    Not since the Great Depression have the people of this country been subjected to such a beating at the hands of their economy. Prospects are low, moods are fearful and recessional defeatism is as popular as reality TV. But it doesn’t have to be.

    In the comparison to the Great Depression, one that is made with the full knowledge that it has already become a tired cliché, the tools can be found to turn the Great Recession into an asset rather than a liability. The mentality with which we approach our monetary reality is all in our heads, and therefore entirely within our own power to change. So what can we gain when we seemingly don’t have anything to gain? Strength, ingenuity and even real humanity, to name just a few.

    We could take a page from older days and learn to survive in difficult times. Nowadays we grow complacent, and in complacency lose something essentially human, or we grow restless. But when figurative harvests are lean, meat scarce and yes, stocks low with the unemployment rates high, we can truly come alive if we allow ourselves to. Certainly the sane part of our brains is despairing, and rightly so, but somewhere deep down in the animal center we’re laughing maniacally. That animal core is the part of us that is the Dirty Harry to our rational and weary-minded operator. Our animal instinct says, “at long last, a challenge!” Then we ask ourselves with a wry smile whether we feel lucky.

    Humans have always had the potential to advance during adversity. We came to dominate the world as a species, after all, and that’s a fair bit more difficult to handle than any economic downturn. Many people are asking how they are going to survive, but if they’d let their essentially human impulse loose they’d be asking how they could thrive and how could they come to conquer. The interesting thing about our species is that the clever ones have always seen desolation as a blank canvas, something to be created upon rather than feared.

    When you think about it, why in goodness’ name would anyone try to “win the West” or try to find out what’s on the moon, or out in space? That sounds risky. And yet, in both those instances, humans rushed headlong into both those places. Why not dive into the Great Recession with the same abandon?

    None of this purposefully underplays the desperation that this economic situation engenders. It will be a hard and painful journey regardless. But the question that’s left to our own spirits is whether it will be a grind to the glorious finish or to the point where we can’t go on anymore. A thousand generations from Homo Erectus to Hoovertown residents did it, so why can’t we? It’s only a matter of standing your ground, and then advancing it.

    A double-dip recession? Bring it on.

    — Andrew Conlogue is a junior studying philosophy, politics, economics and law. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search