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Americans have become conditioned to expect immediacy. Cell phones, faxes, computers, Internet access, overnight mail and text messaging give us instant access to friends and families and a wealth of information. It’s all there at our fingertips.
Thanks to computers and the Internet, we can go online today, research a product in depth, order it, and have it on our doorsteps the next day. We can text a friend in China or India and receive an immediate response. And, we can access a boundless amount of information without so much as a single trip to the local library.
Unfortunately, our conditioning is a detriment. As we struggle to rebuild our economy, impatience is rearing its ugly head. Critics are already casting doubt on the economic recovery plan recently signed by the president, not giving it a moment to take effect.
We forget that it took us a while for the crisis to unfold. The economic crisis probably started with the burst of the tech stock bubble. Then came 911, an event that knocked our economy to its knees. Then came the invasion of Iraq, and the high price tag, which drained our economy.
And don’t forget hurricane Katrina, with a price tag of over $150 billion, and countless other disasters all brought on by global warming. Each one cost us dearly — in lives, in property loss and in dollars. Each one helped weaken our economy.
Tax relief to America’s wealthiest probably hurt the economy as well, decreasing revenues in a time when spending for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reached record levels.
The high price of gasoline, dealt a blow to our economy as well. And then came the subprime mortgage meltdown. It was the last straw and knocked the already severely weakened legs right out from under our economy.
Let us not forget that the current crisis took a long time to unfold, and will take a long time to solve. We must remain patient — and do our part to prevent the kinds of things that got us here in the first place.
Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.