News and views from the award-winning author of the Class H Trilogy: AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED and PANCHO LAND

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It’s starting to feel like the 70’s again

The sense of déjà vu is palpable for those of us who lived through the 1970s. The economy is plummeting even as prices rise, resurrecting that word we hoped we’d never hear again: stagflation. We are once again in a war with no clear exit strategy. Today’s headlines show the U.S. military propping up another ally who seems to lack the will to fight. What's next? Long lines at the gas station, disco and platform shoes?


Oh, sure. Not everything is the same. Many experts say we’ll weather this economic crisis because we've learned from the past. We now have safeguards that will protect us from a meltdown, they insist. This optimism reminds me of the classic movie “Westworld” whose promotional slogan was a computer voice caught in a loop that kept repeating: “Nothing can go wrong—go wrong—go wrong.” The nature of any disaster stems from the way that time and chance will inevitably uncover that fatal contingency no one ever considered.


All the same, we survived the 1970s. However, a lot of the X-Gens and Millennials are in for a rude shock. They’ve grown up with rising home prices, low inflation and steady job growth. These pillars of their economic world are in for a severe jolt.


Raul Ramos y Sanchez