Cheers to Recession!

June 1, 2010
By kread18 DIAMOND, Berkeley, California
kread18 DIAMOND, Berkeley, California
65 articles 0 photos 33 comments

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.


The author's comments:
An optimist's look at the downfall of the American economy.

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This article has 3 comments.


on Aug. 11 2010 at 4:45 am
Treefiddy BRONZE, Tarzana, California
1 article 0 photos 158 comments

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 fellow man needs or wants, in the ability that we may command a wage so that we may satisfy to a finite extent the infinite wants each of us wishes for. Everything there is, every good and service, is a product of man's mind. To illegitamately seize that him from is to enslave him.

There is no manna from heaven. Wealth is the byproduct of man's ability to think. Everything we take for granted came about because of the motive to make a profit. They built and labored because they knew they were going to reap the rewards of their work. If they weren't to be rewarded by their fellow man, they wouldn't have created. What would be the purpose to?

We have no right to interfere with a transaction which takes place between two parties, as long as they are not infringing upon the unalienable rights of another. All of society is built upon people pursuing their own seperate interests. Their interests generally are in the right to gain and keep property. Private property is the key to understanding civil society. When you can take away somebody's property arbitrarily, you have enslaved them.


on Aug. 10 2010 at 7:45 pm
kread18 DIAMOND, Berkeley, California
65 articles 0 photos 33 comments

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 we are sacrificing the well-being of millions of people, simply their material items. You seem to equate happiness and freedom and individual rights with posessions, while I believe that the downsizing of the economy does not strip people of their rights, simply differs the way in which they use them. The opportunity I'm talking about is the opportunity to wake up, take a step back, and actually increase free choice by increasing peoples' perception of what is important.

Our labors should not be geared toward gaining freedom through posessions, but toward gaining freedom and contentment through reaching out to others. You act as if a helping hand is a bad thing. You are an island, and want to do well for yourself, isolated from the intrusions of others, while I prefer the power of human interaction. A Eutopian vision is no longer a vision when people begin to see the glass half full, if you forgive the phrase. It's incredibly pessimistic to instantly dismiss something so great as foolish, idealistic, and impossible.

The only reason I have anything "against" personal wealth is because I could never see myself having fortune, and therefore do not understand it. That is not to say that I am jealous. On the contrary, I could not see myself that way because I am more than content with what I have, and would be willing to give that up for someone that had less. Unfortunately, such opportunities hardly arise, but the falling economy is increasing that opportunity to give by taking the focus away from objects and placing it on other people. I'm just curious as to what you seem to have against one story houses and bicycles.

And I don't know about you, but all the unoccuupied houses rotting in Detroit seems not only wasteful, but creepy. I'm simply suggesting that the land can be put to better use, such as the farmland I wrote of.

You seem to have joined the TeenInk network solely for political reasons. You've made many many comments and posted only one article, which is also of an extreme political nature. I find this interesting, because I joined mostly for creative writing reasons, as a way to have other writers critique my writing, not my opinions. I am not a Marxist or a socialist, I am a human being, and I've never labeled myself one way or the other, but feel free to call me whatever you want because I'm just as proud of my opinions as I am of my writing.

 


on Aug. 10 2010 at 4:44 pm
Treefiddy BRONZE, Tarzana, California
1 article 0 photos 158 comments

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, "The country cut back on many levels, created a greener and more efficient environment". You sound like a demagogue who is willing to sacrifice the well-being of millions of people for some false, Utopian vision.

You said, "Detriot was the American symbol for 'industrial might.'" You went on to say, "But another characteristic of greatness is considering the current situation to prescribe the best remedy. Going backwards might be the right step."

It seems to me that you have something against personal wealth and fortunes, and that you want all to share a common idealism, rallying around something greater than ourselves, in spirit of unity and pragmatism, which is created by disassembling ourselves from Earthly things. You would like to replace the symbol of "industrial might" for "workers of the world, unite". I could be incorrect, but the impressions you are giving are very strong.

You said, "with as few as two or three occupied houses on a block, may bring peace and quiet, but it diminishes efficiency." I am assuming that thoses properties are privately owned- this means that in the name of efficiency, the government is going to have to confiscate those properties to either built or develop upon them. There is nothing constitutional in this act.

You said, "While some residents of the area to be bulldozed are angry and unwilling to leave their homes, they will be moved to strong 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."

This is more of a Marixst notion which I have ever heard. Just as important, it is unconstitutional. Nothing in the constitution compels the federal government to seize the private land from somebody for the sole purpose as to build another building, or to auction it off to another private buyer.

Your last paragraph had some actually fascistic notes. You said, "we can reverse our negative perceptions regarding the recession. If your 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 habve been blinded with, our declining economy has truly been a blessing in disguise."

This is what is known as "friendly fascism". It is the element of totalitarian society, but created in a way as to create an illusion of free choice. Your vision of society is scary and I reject it wholly. You make no distinctions of private propery rights, the freedom of choice, and the ability to labor freely.


I would really like to know if you are a Marxist or a socialist. Do not take offense in my reply- it is my honest impression.



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