Just to go out on a high note, here are a couple of the 2009 developments that I think are huge positives (some already remarked on, some not):
–Improved racial comity in the U.S. (the biggest development of the year — if not decade);
–Spread of Instant Run-off Voting (also known as “Ranked Choice Voting”). In my (and many others’) opinion, IRV holds the key to opening up our sclerotic, corrupt political oligopoly (a mouthful, I know)
–Crest of the SUV/McMansion trends. Good riddance. Maybe 2010 will mark the arrival of the electric car??
–The “locavore” movement (grow, consume, live locally)
–On a personal note: my three kids –ages 10, 7, and 5 — all bigger, brighter and more and more engaged in the world! This was also the year my 7 year-old conquered his dyslexia and became a reader!
–Social media and the blogosphere (you’re reading this, aren’t you?) Yeah, the “signal to noise” problem is still there, but leave it to technology to solve that one, too.
–Smart phones and ever-more sophisticated networking (remember the long wait for a “killer app?” It turned out to be the smart phone platform).
–No more icons. Yeah, it’s a bummer to find out that erstwhile heroes –financial and otherwise (Alan Greenspan, Tiger Woods, etc.) — turned out to have feet of clay. But putting one’s faith in icons fosters complacency, and complacency begets, well, you know.
Which is not to say that contemporary society doesn’t have any “wise men” (and women) left.
That’s always the lament whenever there’s a major crisis.
So, let’s hear it for pillars of rectitude and common sense like Paul Volcker, and John Bogle, and Elizabeth Warren, and Jeremy Grantham, and Simon Johnson, and Joseph Stiglitz, and . . .
See you in 2010!