The Second Great Depression?

Paul Krugman, the recent Nobel Prize winner, has finally said it.  He isn’t predicting a Great Depression; he is warning us all that preventing it will require swift and bold action (Obama’s terms).

The fact is that recent economic numbers have been terrifying, not just in the United States but around the world. Manufacturing, in particular, is plunging everywhere. Banks aren’t lending; businesses and consumers aren’t spending. Let’s not mince words: This looks an awful lot like the beginning of a second Great Depression.

So will we “act swiftly and boldly” enough to stop that from happening? We’ll soon find out.

How’s this our concern?  The APA job market this year was thoroughly alarming; it’s estimated that 10% of the job searches were cancelled and many other universities delayed job searches.  Where will philosophy, and particularly our younger colleagues, be if we do into a depression?  Our profession is, as has been pointed out here very recently (see Thom Brooks’ comment esp), woefully under promoted.  Who will think out departments are worth  preserving fully as universities are cut back.?

 And though some of us feel well protected by tenure, even that is  a limited guarantee, as distinguihsed, tenured PhD  scientists at the University of Texas’ Medical Branch in Galveston have found out recently.  And then, of course, there are our families and friends, our cities and our countries.. 

What can we do?  A strong letter writing campaign that reminds our legislators of  Obama’s popularity might  help to get more people behind him.