I don’t know how it’s going in the rest of stimulus-land, but:

I needed a new battery for my laptop, so I made a rare visit to a mall, where I was told there a new Apple store.  I parked on the wrong side, not knowing where it was, and so walked a long way down the wide corridors in search of the silver apple.  There were so few people in the stores – maybe one or two in each, even the big names.  And this on a morning of rain which usually drives the tourists out of the lobster shacks and off the ferries and into retail therapy.  Maybe you are like me: retail therapy hurts more than it relieves these days.  Read behind the headlines, walk through an empty mall – it’s hard to escape the notion that this recession is much deeper than it appears.

In fact, it’s a game changer.  I am surer this will not be a V-shaped recession, nor a U, nor even an Ü-shaped one.  Any of these implies a return to what got us into such trouble before, and I both fear (personally) and am relieved (philosophically) that we have embarked across rough waters  in search of a totally new kind of economy.  I have written earlier in this blog that we will not emerge from this morass – whatever the local ups and downs – until we marry ecology to economy.  The information revolution is the most powerful stimulus we can have right now, which is happening without government support.  (Witness: The Apple store, when I got there at 11:15, had its next open appointment at the ‘Genius Bar’ (Apple, c’mon: Help Desk) at 7:40pm.  It was the only crowded store.)

Green energy is the next big money-maker and the greatest long-term stimulus, but will require government to prime the pump to help break the oil companies’ monopoly.  Come on, you democratic supermajority, use your temporary clout to throw some financial crumbs (at least compared to what we are prepared to give to errant banks, over-leveraged insurance companies, and ever-so-last-century car-makers) in the direction of alternative income sources of energy.

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