Monday, March 02, 2009

Chicken Little Takes a Deep Breath


News broke this morning that AIG lost $62 Billion in the last quarter of 2008. That's a staggering amount of money to lose in three months! It's even more meaningful when you consider how that quarter began: It began with the government bailing them out, to the tune of $85 Billion, taking over about 80% ownership of their stock. Apparently, bailouts aren't as effective as some people seem to hope they will be. But then again, I'm pretty sure the experts themselves never claimed they were fixing anything with all the money they're shoveling around. They've only stated that these measures are being taken in order to slow down the collapse to a survivable speed.

I remember back in July of 2007 when the DOW hit the 14,000 mark. Today it dipped back into the 6000's range for the first time since the last "hard landing" of 1997 (which happened because of a currency collapse that started in Thailand, of all places). That means our stock market has lost more than half its value in less than two years. As a history teacher who has done lessons on the Great Depression several times, I have to say that a lot of this stuff sounds really familiar. Of course, I hope I'm wrong and things are going to level off soon and the bad news will wane over the next few months. Speaking for myself, I would have a hard time learning to live like "The Greatest Generation" did. But then again, we are a pretty adaptable species, aren't we?

I remember quietly panicking exactly 10 years ago because I had become convinced that "the masses" would withdraw all their money for fear that the Y2K bug would wreck everything. I even remember teaching a Sunday School lesson about it (God forgive me!). Well, my intentions were good, but I overestimated the extent of the problem and I underestimated human ingenuity in the face of a crisis.

So I think I know better, now. I learned from that situation that my imagination can get away from me sometimes, and I need to watch that. I also learned that people are really resourceful, when they need to be. Maybe that's a residual effect of being created in the image of God. He is infinitely creative, and we share in that to some degree. So I won't worry like the heathen do ;-) I know the larger story, and I know that, in the end, it all turns out good.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Matt said...

Many of us just weren't created with the ability to bear this kind of intense worry. We've progressed in the direction of acquiring God-like knowledge of the world around us. Surely this stuff is bigger than many merely human shoulders can bear. Solomon: "For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."

5:13 PM  

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