Cheers to Recession!

June 1, 2010
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The aftermath of the Great Depression, a period that is considered to be an American tragedy, was driven by one concept: downsizing. Americans became happy with what they already had rather than greedy for what they wanted. Houses became for living in rather than showing off and cars became smarter and more efficient. The country cut back on many levels, created a greener and more efficient environment. But since then, Americans have come to define their success by their money rather than their happiness, eliminating the ideal that less is more. The current economic recession we are facing is constantly viewed as having a strong negative impact, but in reality it may be exactly what our country needs.

According to a The Sacramento Bee, the city of Detroit has proposed plans to convert a quarter of its 139 square mile city from urban to “semi-rural.” Eerie vacant buildings and lots will be transformed into fruit and vegetable farmland, and suburban commuters will cruise through pockets of trees and lush fields before entering the city.

Not long ago, Detroit was the American symbol for “industrial might.” Forward thinking and innovative ideas characterized their role as an economic powerhouse. But another characteristic of greatness is considering the current situation to prescribe the best remedy. Going backwards might be the right step.

The current set-up of the city, with as few a two or three occupied houses on a block, may bring peace and quiet, but it diminishes efficiency. Mayor Dave Bing, who took office last year, said that this idea of downsizing was formed in the 1990’s when blight was spreading within the city, but they are only now taking advantage of the opportunity.

While some residents of the area to be bulldozed are angry and unwilling to leave their homes, they will be moved to stronger neighborhoods, where they can play a more active part in their community’s economy. Millions of federal dollars must be used to buy land and relocate residents, but the long-run economic effect will be positive.

It is more than evident that the economic recession has been taxing on many American families and businesses. Graduating high school students are feeling the pinch when it comes to receiving a college education. People are forced to cut back on everyday items, and a huge level of stress is created for those in jeopardy of losing their homes. But Detroit is only one example of how less money can actually create a better world. By learning from the past and looking for the good in every situation, we can reverse our negative perceptions regarding the recession. If our economy has taught us anything, it is not to fear change, but to embrace it. By promoting simple living, going back to one-story houses and biking to work, and shattering the illusion of insufficiency Americans have been blinded with, our declining economy has truly been a blessing in disguise.

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Threefiddy said...
Aug. 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

In my opinion, your essay has a great deal of Marxist overtones. You start by declaring that the properties we acquire are an extent of our greed, and that this recession is a blessing in disguise.

Our labors, which are finite, are what creates the extent of our livelihoods, our standard of living, and ability to purchase and keep property. People are loosing their liveihoods, their jobs and their property every day, but you see it as an opportunity. An opportunity for what? You said, ... (more ») This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Well I think your vision of society is scary, so we're even. I've never received a comment this long or this passionate, so I would like to thank you. But I know just as well that people are always going to disagree as whole-heartedly as I disagree with you, and that's the way it should be. I understand and accept that this is your impression and your opinion, but that does not mean that I cannot take offense to it, just as I'm sure you will take offense to what I say.

I hardly believe... (more »)

Threefiddy replied...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 4:45 am

The material items of others isn't for you or me to take away. What right do you or I have to take away the limited extent one of man's labor and use it in the interest of some public good?

What is labor? Labor is providing a good or service, using the extent of your mind, which manifests itself in your knowledge, talents, expertise and perhaps even luck. Why do people labor? Every man has a limited extent of what they can do on this Earth. We provide eachother with goods that our fell... (more »)

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