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by noteworthy at 1:05 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2009

Amitai Etzioni:

Much of the debate over how to address the economic crisis has focused on a single word: regulation. But the truth is quite a bit more complicated.

The upshot is that regulation cannot be the linchpin of attempts to reform our economy. What is needed instead is something far more sweeping: for people to internalize a different sense of how one ought to behave, and act on it because they believe it is right.

In short, the normative values of a culture matter. Regulation is needed when culture fails, but it cannot alone serve as the mainstay of good conduct.

So what kind of transformation in our normative culture is called for? What needs to be eradicated, or at least greatly tempered, is consumerism: the obsession with acquisition that has become the organizing principle of American life. This is not the same thing as capitalism, nor is it the same thing as consumption.

But consumerism will not just magically disappear from its central place in our culture. It needs to be supplanted by something.

What should replace the worship of consumer goods?

The main challenge is not to pass some laws, but, rather, to ask people to reconsider what a good life entails.

Alan Kay:

If the children are being instructed in the pink plane, can we teach them to think in the blue plane and live in a pink-plane society?

David Lynch:

Trillions and Zillions of Ideas.

Consciousness is a Ball.

Ideas are like fish. Originality is just the ideas you caught.

Louis CK:

When I read things like, "The foundations of capitalism are shattering," I'm like, "Maybe we need that." Maybe we need some time ... because everything is amazing right now, and nobody's happy ...

Ginia Bellafante:

There used to be a time if you didn't have money to buy something, you just didn't buy it.


Paul Graham asks what living in your city tells you. Living in the north Perimeter area for 6 odd years now has told me that everybody makes way, way more money than I do. It's not inspiring so much as it makes you sympathize with class warfare.

From the archive, Amitai Etzioni:

I presume that many a psychiatrist and New Age minister would point out that by keeping busy we avoid “healthy” grieving. To hell with that; the void left by our loss is just too deep. For now, focusing on what we do for one another is the only consolation we can find.

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