October 21, 2011
Bill Clinton recently suggested that a good way to stimulate the economy is by allowing homeowners to reduce their mortgages to the actual value of their homes. If I understand the concept, it means giving the banks one swift kick in the nads so we can all move on. In theory, that might be better for everyone, including the banks, assuming it revs up the economic engine in the long run. And it might be better than watching the underwater mortgage holders walk away. I don’t know if Clinton’s suggestion is a good one, but it’s undeniably creative.
Meanwhile, there’s a bipartisan bill in congress to grant visas to anyone that can plunk down $500,000 in cash for real estate in the United States. That would prop up the real estate market and attract people that have, in all likelihood, something to add to the country in terms of talent and resources. That’s a creative idea. (And it was discussed in this blog, in the comments, some time ago.)
On the other side of the world, Afghanistan is strengthening its ties with India to force Pakistan to compete, for all practical purposes, to be Afghanistan’s friend instead of its frenemy. That’s creative.
In the Middle East, you have Abbas using political pressure against Israel in the United Nations instead of violence. No matter what you think of that idea, it’s creative.
Then you have the Arab Spring, which involves millions of citizens imagining the previously unimaginable – that they can control their own political destinies.
Former Mexican president Fox is publicly calling for the complete legalization of drugs in the United States and Mexico as a way to end the violence and reduce the cost of the war on drugs. He uses the example of prohibition to make his case. We’ve always had advocates for drug legalization, but I don’t recall anyone at that level ever calling for ALL drugs to be legal, and for every part of the process, from growing to selling to consuming, to be legal. No matter what you think of that idea, it strikes me as creative.
Consider the Tea Party. Consider Occupy Wall Street. Consider the calls (including mine) for a constitutional convention.
You’ll be tempted to argue the merits of the movements and ideas I mentioned. But hold off on that for just a minute and look at the larger landscape. I think we’re experiencing a worldwide creativity boom. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like it.
Everyone in the entire world – from Libya to Wall Street – just said fuck the system – let’s try something new. This is the sort of creative burst you would expect just ahead of an economic boom. And that’s my prediction: The next ten years will be incredible.