It’s Getting Worse

Something has to be done

Paul Greenberg

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Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

In 2021 many thought it had gone as low as it could go. But close observers of it in 2022 who did the hard work of crunching the data and plotting the longterm trends agree that 2022 marked a nadir that will get progressively lower over time.

How could we have closed ourselves off to it so resoundingly when at first it appeared to be exactly what was missing in this world of limited attention and messy divisions?

How did it sink to such depths when we had such hope for it only a decade ago? Many attribute its sudden dip to a senseless entanglement with blockchain and an unwillingness to recognize the importance of real world market dynamics. (Full disclosure here — I was an early investor and still remain cautiously optimistic). Others blame supply chain issues and those certainly can’t be discounted. Nevertheless, when we stop playing the “blame game” and really look at what went wrong we can see a much more human failing: its persistent inability to move hearts and minds.

How could we have closed ourselves off to it so resoundingly when at first it appeared to be exactly what was missing in this world of limited attention and messy divisions? That we are a divided country goes without saying. But it’s the very nature of these divisions that may have proved so divisive. Had it managed to steer clear of these divisions which are so starkly on display each and every day, then perhaps 2022 could have emerged with a rosier glow. Alas it did not. And now so many other aspects of the economy which it ensnared during the high heady days appear to be going down with it.

What then are we to do in 2023? How can we avoid a repeat of 2022’s catastrophe while remaining true to a vision for the future that is as inclusive as it is resilient? Forgive me if I take off my “analyst” hat here and instead speak directly from the heart. We have to look at the fundamentals and understand that its lows can also be its highs. We have to stay the course while at the same time understanding that everything runs its course. And when that course is run we have to lay down a path for greater introspection. Only in this way will we fully embrace potential while at the same time making space for failure.

Look, 2022 was hard. Very hard. And I don’t expect 2023 to be any easier. But at least we can say that we looked it square in the eye, assessed its shortcomings and dreamed about its longcomings.

And in the end isn’t that what really matters?

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org