Problem solving?

They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. Maybe, that rings true for personal problems, but is it really true for so-called ‘world problems’? Take, for instance, two raging economic and financial issues: the US federal deficit and the political debate about the debt limit; the economic crisis in the European Union, and the debt crises facing Greece,  Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Do we feel more at ease for all that we have learned about the billions and trillions of US dollars of debt that is under discussion? Do we have more comfort from hearing about the services that may have to be cut or the employees who may have to be dismissed? Or, do we merely feel overwhelmed by problems whose scale seem too large to comprehend? Does knowing about the political maneuvering that involve stalemates, brinkmanship, and deals on or deals off, make us feel the problems are lessened? Does hearing about possible risks of default, spending cuts, possible tax increases, make us feel less or more concerned? Are we more or less at ease after hearing and seeing and reading for weeks about the topics?

I do not think I can honestly say that what has been shared about these financial problems diminishes them in any way. But, we debate the topics more to test our understanding and express our views than to really help with their resolution. That may make us feel good about our intellectual processes, but as we are not actors in resolving the issues, how much comfort do we take from our better understanding?



About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
This entry was posted in Economics, Government, Politics, US economy, World economy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Problem solving?

  1. Jo says:

    Excellent. In most ways, it feels like all this information increases polarization and certainly makes ME feel worse! On the other hand, democracy depends on a flow of information on one side so that the people can be thoughtful and make informed choices. The problem is not that we are getting too much information; the problem is that we are using information for posturing and staking out turf rather than looking for common ground in what we hear. It’s that we’re not carrying out our responsibility in the balanced democratic equation.

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