Joe Nocera calls current economic crisis ‘the great unwinding’

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February 3, 2009, 4:12 pm

Joe Nocera and Shorenstein Center director Alex S. Jones.

Joe Nocera and Shorenstein Center director Alex S. Jones.

February 3, 2009 — At the first Shorenstein Center brown-bag lunch of the semester, Joe Nocera, business columnist for the New York Times, gave his thoughts on where the economy is headed.

Beyond the layoffs, business failures, and stock-market upheaval, for Nocera the most discouraging side of the economic crisis is that no one has yet come up with a solution. Even President Obama “doesn’t have a clear idea of what he believes,” and so has not taken a confident step forward with a proposal.

Nocera called the economic crisis “the great unwinding,” an event that ultimately will change the beliefs and behaviors of an entire generation of Americans. “We will remember what 2009 felt like,” he said.

As a country and as individuals, Nocera observed, we have long lived beyond our means, borrowing as much as possible, hoping to pay back with deflated dollars. “There’s a little Bernie Madoff in all of us,” he said.

This article was written by Janell Sims and the photos taken by Leighton Walter Kille, both of the Shorenstein Center.