Worry Global, Talk Local

The global picture continues to worsen and Friday was a pretty bad day.  I took part in a good summary discussion hosted by Jeff Brown on the Lehrer NewsHour last night. The topics ranged from the rising dollar to falling oil prices to Treasury’s investments in insurance companies to loan modifications for homeowners.

But I don’t think anyone should throw up their hands, abandon their personal strategies, or think that any part of the sky is falling.  Here’s why.

Planet Money, the NPR podcast, is starting a series talking to people all around the country about how how the crisis is and is not affecting people them. Yesterday, Adam Davidson, and Laura Conaway, and I spent two hours talking with nearly a dozen people.  To a person they were nervous – hence their interest in talking – but every one of them impressed me with their thoughtfulness and resilience, built around smart long-range plans and a lot of support from family and friends.  And the first discussion that Planet Money aired, yesterday afternoon, was downright inspiring – in terms of how Sophia Suhu faces the future.

All this further suggests that it’s healthy and reassuring to talk openly about potential personal implications, how to cope in contingencies, and where we all go from here.

Now, I have to go work more to make sure my MIT course on the crisis (starts Tuesday) builds on and feeds into this network of helpful conversations around the world.

Update: listen to more on global economic developments and some of the policy responses that can still make a difference (fiscal stimulus and, the way things are heading, currency intervention by the G7) from John Ydstie’s report on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Saturday morning (today).

2 thoughts on “Worry Global, Talk Local

  1. Simon, I saw you on the News Hour and have become a regular reader of your blog. Planet Money and The Baseline Scenario are my primary sources for information on the financial crisis. Will you be including content from your MIT course in this blog?

  2. I’d like to add that both Planet Money and the Lehrer NewsHour have podcasts you can subscribe to easily using iTunes. Planet Money is one of the top podcasts on the home page of the iTunes Store, and you can search for NewsHour. These are great for commuters (or people who walk their dogs, like me).

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