Back when I worked at The Atlantic the main editor I worked with was Don Peck, who at one point in late 2007 turned me on to the then-gathering foreclosure crisis and the fact that it was a bigger deal than people realized. In other words, he was right and smart about the big economic trends. I haven’t yet read his new book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can Do About It beyond the introduction, but the article he did a year or so ago that it’s based on is great, and I think his insight into this issue is quote profound.
I was reminded to recommend the book because I saw him earlier today on MSNBC making the excellent point that, paradoxically, the longer we suffer through bad times, the less likely we are to do anything about it. Bad times makes politics nastier, more polarized, and individual thinking more zero-sum. That makes it harder to make the changes we need, even as it becomes more important.