Margaret knew. . . .
why didn't the banking, business, political and economic leaders know?
Margaret Atwood, Canadian Writer.
I listened to Margaret Atwood discuss her new book , Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth" on the radio the other day. She began this book back in 2003 when she came to believe an economic collapse in the US was a real possibility. The timely publication of this book of the role of debt throughout history, within culture, religion and as a theme in literture is a testiment to her prescient skill.
For those who may not know, Margaret Atwood is a major Canadian writer, perhaps, the most important Canadian author, of poetry , novels, short stories and non-fiction. I love to hear her talk with great intelligence and wit in her very characteristic style.
In 2003 Margaret Atwood wrote an essay, "A Letter to America" where she expressed her admiration for American culture and literature. She then goes on to express her concern for what she saw as the coming demise of the America she admired. (She has degrees in American Literature from Harvard.) It is amazing how much she predicted the tragedies that has befallen the Great Republic. I think the only thing she did not foresee was the United States becoming a State that uses torture. For her, and many of us, this must have been unimaginable. I remember reading this essay at the time and feeling it reflected much of how I felt as an admirer of the best of the US and how troubling things were becoming. I urge you to read her essay so caringly crafted.
It was at this time she started to write her new book on the role of debt throughout history. I have yet to read it. It is not just an economic tract but a study of culture and literature through the ages. I shall put it high on my Christmas wishlist. Are you reading, Penny? (My sister who always gives me a book)
Near the end of the essay, Margaret Atwood writes,
"You're running up a record level of debt. Keep spending at this rate and pretty soon you won't be able to afford any big military adventures. Either that or you'll go the way of the USSR: lots of tanks, but no air conditioning. That will make folks very cross. They'll be even crosser when they can't take a shower because your short-sighted bulldozing of environmental protections has dirtied most of the water and dried up the rest. Then things will get hot and dirty indeed.
You're torching the American economy. How soon before the answer to that will be, not to produce anything yourselves, but to grab stuff other people produce, at gunboat-diplomacy prices? Is the world going to consist of a few megarich King Midases, with the rest being serfs, both inside and outside your country? Will the biggest business sector in the United States be the prison system? Let's hope not."
It is a mystery to me that this woman ,who is not an economist, could see the handwriting on the wall. Granted she is a well educated, intelligent woman but so are all the men, (and a few women) who make the economy move. Perhaps, these economic technocrats need to study more history and literature to broaden their understanding 0f the Society.
If you want to learn more about Margaret Atwood, visit the CBC archives of their broadcasts about her over the years http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/literature/topics/1494/
Here is a little extract from her book http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/literature/topics/1494/
Here is an interview with Margaret Atwood about her book http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article4830742.ece
Margaret Atwood will be giving the Massey Lecture this year on the theme of her book. If you have access to CBC radio, it will be broadcast on the program "Ideas" in November.