Ross Douthat writes:
Perspective - Ross Douthat: But the most pressing issue, it seems to me, is whether we've reached - or will reach - a point at which all our abundance cushions us against the political consequences of suddenly-diminished expectations. In 1932 or so, the West's porridge-eating past wasn't nearly as far in the rearview mirror as it is today, but a Brad DeLong of the Great Depression could still have marshaled all sorts of statistics to prove that even amid economic crisis, your average Westerner was in vastly better shape than his pre-industrial forefathers.
Indeed, John Maynard Keynes did--that was his essay on "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren"...
Yet that underlying reality didn't save Europe from a [Great Depression] decade in which democratic capitalism was thought to be discredited, and the whole edifice of modern civilization was very nearly torn apart. Hopefully the world - not only DeLong's North Atlantic cluster, but the developing powers as well - has grown rich enough and stable enough that something like that simply couldn't happen again, no matter how hard the fall and how deep the depression. Hopefully.
Don't bet on it, Ross.