Krugman - How Much Of The World Is In a Liquidity Trap? Technical, but a good overview of the problem.
First of all, we have to recognize that we can do something – and should do something. This in contrary to the conventional wisdom: just do nothing, and hope it works itself out. This is what produced the Great Depression – lest we forget. And not only that: it is common morality – also something we tend to forget.
Another response is “Let the government take care of it!” But this gets us into a political power struggle where the most powerful (and the most stupid) usually win.
The solution seems clear to me: subsidize projects that will improve our competence. Competence is one of my favorite words, it refers to the real world – something, as I have said before, we prefer to avoid.
What I am suggesting is that we improve our technical competence – and in particular: our software competence. This would provide the most “bang for our buck” – the Manhattan Project naturally comes to mind.
I am now reading The Logic of Failure, and am very impressed with it. Chapter Three is about setting goals. I think everyone in the world should be marooned on an island and forced to read it.
He points out that general goals are a necessary evil; if they are not converted to specific goals they can do more harm than good. And I intend to do just that: How do we go about improving our software development skills? Using his Steps in Planning and Action, on page 41. I regret I cannot reproduce it here – but I can provide an outline.
First, get ideas from the experts, who will not be shy in giving them. Next, set up a committee (a huge online one would probably be best).
I am tempted to stop right here. One of our biggest problems is just this: how to increase our group intelligence and decision-making skills.
The problem in question would be the perfect way to test this. And we can expect to spend some time on it – and make plenty of mistakes. One of our biggest goals would be to get everyone involved – achieving that would an incredible win!
I repeat: we need to do something. To quote from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg:
Whether things will be better if they are different I do not know. But that they will have to be different to be better, that I do know.