When you are 16, you know everything. You know how to wear your makeup just-so, you know how to drive, how to sneak out of the house, how to flirt with boys and how to ace pre-calculus exams. And you know that if a plane crashes into a New York City high rise, it can only be a pilot error, an accident. Before 7:55 a.m. Central Standard Time on 11 September 2001, I had never heard the word “terrorist”. At least I had never heard it and understood that it could have any relevance in my own life.
Like so many New Yorkers who lived through 11 September 2001, my first memory of that day is the sky. Blue, beautiful, so clear you could spot the smallest of pigeons. It was a big day, that Tuesday. It was the mayoral primary: since the Class of 2002 had entered Columbia at the beginning of August, most of our stories grappled with the challenges that would face the new mayor of New York City. To the joy of many residents of Longwood, the section of the South Bronx I covered, term limits were about to boot Rudolph Giuliani out of office. The Republican was tough on crime, but this policy had a price. Aggressive policing had alienated many residents of the South Bronx.
It seems hard to believe it is almost September again, a month filled with unpacking from summer holidays, back to school shopping, orientation to new routines, and, for those of us who lived through a very violent 11 September ten years ago this year, haunting memories that some prefer to avoid. But memory still is a powerful catalyst for growth, so in light of this anniversary (and in general) it feels important to remember the events of what happened, and their impact on our lives. What I most remember of that day can best be described as a sense of total disorientation that I had never felt in my twenty-five years.
The recent financial crisis has stimulated a justifiable interest in the future of developed economies. Since the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse the economics discipline has been forced to confront its failings. As Dominic Lawson has noted, it has partially undergone a much needed shift towards behavioural economics rather than the cold “rational” mathematical economics that failed so spectacularly. However, as this article describes, there remains enormous scope for a more fundamental rethinking of the political economy of the developed world.
With the world exhaling a collective sigh of relief, lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have agreed to a budget deal that will cut US government spending and raise the debt ceiling. An outline has been given of where cuts will come from that may pose multiple challenges for current US defence priorities around the world. Cuts would total USD$917 billion dollars over ten years in defence and non-defence spending. A congressional committee will gather to enact larger cuts totaling USD$1,5 trillion dollars over ten years. If this second round of cuts were not enacted, a set of “triggers” would automatically make large cuts.
The American people are renowned for their optimism, but the history of their political thought has a dark undercurrent of pessimism and a persistent fear of decline. Declinist thought has proven hardy. It has flourished come rain or shine, and history has often proven its fears misguided. Its persistence can be explained partly by the natural tendency towards self-criticism in a liberal society, and partly by the manic-depressive nature of the business cycle. But it is also surely attributable to the very real problems that have faced American statesmen of every generation, problems which it was never guaranteed would or even could be solved.
Ollanta Humala, a former army officer who once led a military rebellion to overthrow the Peruvian government, has been sworn in as the country’s new president. Eleven years have transformed his political views. He was once an ally of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez and a ﬁerce adherent of populist politics, drawing support from the poor and indigenous sectors of society. This year, however, he has attained the presidency through promising a moderate path, combining the reduction of social inequalities with economic development.