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Pity Your State Government

Bruce Fisher, in his analysis of the economic condition of New York State, and its multi-governmental sub-divisions and agencies illuminates many of the problems that face the residents of New York not only in the present but stretch far into the future (“Pity Your State Government,” Artvoice v8n35). I believe his essay would have been better attended had he discussed in some depth the failure of people to recognize how disruptive the movement from an industrial economy to an economy based on financial markets would affect the lives of billions of people throughout the world.

Some fear that globalization will bring a loss of autonomy for them and the nations of their birth, and others view it as showing the interconnectedness of people and continents peculiar to our planet and exhibiting a world of pluralism without fear of losing their identities as humans.

The age of information technology compounds the economic problems by making us aware of the “perfect storm” gathering on the horizon because of the convergence of climate change and global warming, which will lead to a rise in sea levels, more intense storms along with the rising costs of remediation to communities damaged and destroyed by natural forces, and economies that collapse and die because of our inability to adapt to change by refusing to abort our belief in the status quo. In our imperfect world we should soon learn that our destinies are not always forged by our beliefs but are often forced upon us by other factors that we do not control.

Our new mantra is for sustainability and, to quote Mr. Fisher:

Our prospects for sustainability beyond the crash of Wall Street must involve the following change agenda: To get upstate off the dole, local governments have to become regional governments that end the sprawl that preserves poverty; to keep the workforce smart and to stop dozens of rural counties from dying, the 46 campuses of the state university system have to be funded; federal healthcare reform has to get implemented so that Medicaid stops busting the bank; our federal stimulus money has to actually stimulate income-generating green jobs, including water-quality systems; some kind of as-of-right or across-the-board investment incentive will have to be enacted in return for cutting the Gordian Knot of IDA reform; and overall, New York is going to have to become known again, as it was in the 1960s, as the place where smart people, strivers, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers get the welcome mat, and the insiders get shooed away from the table.

Sustainable economies would require a redistribution of wealth along with a lessening of material needs and a wholesale revamping of our energy policies and agriculture, and the sharing of scarce resources in a world where less would be more. An article in the The Economist spoke of the combined wealth of the world as $60 trillion; dividing that by the world population of 6.8 billion, each man, woman, and child would receive $9,000. The article didn’t state whether this was before or after taxes. but then how many months would that money last the average American?

The complexities of the world require a lot more thought than Professor Fisher offers us and his views as the quintessential insider lead me to believe that his idea of change for the State of New York is not very serious or based on reality.

-Bill Logal

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