I started this blog in the summer of 2005 as I was finishing the manuscript for Generation Debt, my first book. It was a promotional tool and a way to keep up with the news, but more interesting was when it served as a live, open notebook for ideas I was interested in exploring elsewhere.
The book's been out in paperback for a year now. I'm still writing a biweekly Generation Debt column for Yahoo! Finance, and I still travel and speak about 12 times a year-- mostly on campuses, on topics like credit cards, student loans, generational politics, personal finance, the changing job market, health care and higher education policy. But I've always had other interests, and I'm feeling a little stifled by the scope of this blog.
I feel a need to start writing and speaking more openly about the issues I really care about. I was just hired by a bunch of really smart people to write about social entrepreneurship, sustainability, technology, culture, and design in the context of business and our changing economy, and I am psyched. I want this blog to serve as a notebook and a reminder of the bigger picture beyond the day-to-day stories.
Andrew Leonard, one of my favorite bloggers, put it well in a post today: "The economic, social and political model of the U.S. has developed serious albeit remediable flaws and needs major surgery." True, and arguably true of civilization as a whole.
G-d willing, most of my life will take place in the 21st century. I am so fascinated by how much has to change in my lifetime. We have to adopt a new energy economy with hopefully a new set of social relations to go with it. We have to mitigate and adapt to the environmental degradation and climate change that is already occurring. We have to adapt to a country that will be older and grayer. And as Americans we have to abandon this dead-ender militarism and accept our place once and for all as a member of the international community, not the sole superpower. But when we look to the new, rising global powers --- India, China, Brazil, (some say Russia)--every single one of them has horrific poverty, terrible infrastructure, even worse environmental problems, and rickety, or non existent, civic institutions.
It's scary. It's easy to get into crisis mode and shut down all thinking. But as I realized after Hurricane Katrina, pessimism is a luxury. As Nachman of Breslav said,
All the world is a very narrow bridge. The most important part is not to be afraid.