Subprime Nation

Hot, Flat, and Crowded is about two problems: the world’s problem, and America’s problem. The world’s problem is that it is getting hot, flat, and crowded. But what’s on my mind especially today is America’s problem. America has lost its way in recent years – partly because of 9/11 and partly because of the bad habits that we have let build up over the past thirty years, bad habits that have weakened our society’s ability and willingness to take on the big challenges.

As I put it in the book: “In some ways, the subprime mortgage mess and housing crisis are metaphors for what has come over America in recent years: A certain connection between hard work, achievement, and accountability has been broken. We’ve become a subprime nation that thinks it can just borrow its way to prosperity..."

I argue in the book that the best way out of this mess is an American commitment to what I call "nation-building at home," centered on innovation in clean energy. The crisis on Wall Street makes clear that America really does have a problem and that we really do need to commit to "nation-building at home," and fast. As the government asks all of us as citizens to assume responsibility for the financial crisis, what should we be asking of it in terms of "nation-building at home"? What should we be calling for on top of greater regulation of the financial markets if we are going to get our country back on the right track?


(SP) "more children are ridiculous"

Pete (Pickled) ... (not verified)
September 23rd 2008, 5:42 pm

It is unteresting that you have "Crowded" in the title but make little mention of the crowds. Is not this a major reason that we are using (have used) up our resources?

I would suggest that we (at least the U.S.) stop subsidizing child production. The Powers that be might then be less inclined to use that particular resource for destructive purposes (wars), and other resources of finite depth might go a little further.

Appoint me "Grand Visor" with unlimited policy authority and I shall limit every woman's child formation capacity to one except, of course, my grandchildren.

Tax exemptions for more children? I suppose that this idea made sense when the country was developing and fighting the natives for their land, but now? It is rediculous.

Perhaps an incentive by installation of photo-voltaic system with (rental) costs abated until more than one child. Maybe community service required of multiple child families, such as janitorial services at the local schools until the youngest has reached maturity.

Population pressures will continue to counter cheaper and cleaner energy costs if we are successful in all of our energy clean-up efforts. We need desparately to control populations.

Pete (Pickled) ... (not verified)
September 23rd 2008, 5:33 pm