While standing in line at a mall food court, I overheard two people complaining about the miserable state of the economy. This isn’t an uncommon conversation, everyone seems to be thinking about the ‘global recession.’ However, what struck me was they both ironically had shopping bags from high-end stores.
If you’re reading this, you probably have paid for your classes at the University of Miami, whether through a scholarship, parental money or loans. The very fact that loans are available to us counters the doomsday economic critiques of news pundits and their sensationalized talk shows. We all should stop being so pessimistic about the economy and focus on the positive.
Around the country people are feeling the effects of the economy, but very few are regressing to the Great Depression recipes of potatoes and casserole every night. To be fair there are some families that have been hit very hard and to them this time truly is a depression. However, for UM students, it is a good opportunity to learn about living within our means.
People from my home state of Ohio, which has had high unemployment rates and a plummeting manufacturing economy for over a decade, joke that the rest of the country is just ‘catching up to us.’ Indeed national unemployment has not even come close to that of cities like Cleveland or Detroit. The point isn’t to be content with our economic state, but rather to accept it for what it is. Recessions mean downsizing your credit card bill and depressions mean not eating. We are in a recession.
The same generation of Japanese and Germans, who were born into war-scarred countries with little infrastructures, have become economic powerhouses of their respective regions. We are in a global economy now and the stakes are higher, but this also creates more potential for recovery.
We should all be thankful that this is happening while we are young and time-rich, rather than asset-rich. But if you ever feel an air of pessimism coming over you, speak to someone who actually did live through the Great Depression. You will quickly regain some perspective.
Adam Weinstein is a junior majoring in international studies. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org