For $22, you can weather apocalypse
In Other Voices Feb. 17 Ron Smith reviewed "The Great Reckoning" by James Davison and Lord William Rees-Mogg. The book concludes (and Mr. Smith concurs) that we are headed for economic and social instability that will make the Depression of the 1930s pale by comparison. Many factors are cited but the primary one is the end of the Cold War, which saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and left that nation bankrupt and the West deeply in debt.
The proposition that 20th century Western civilization can't survive without continued dependence on a war economy is a subject too vast to contest in these spaces. Nevertheless, the authors then move us on to their list of chilling consequences of this forthcoming collapse: "crumbling centralized power ... threat terrorism ... increasing violence from the underclass." And look out! There is another bogy man loose in the '90s: "Islam is uniquely suited to the world of the 1990s."
Included in the book are "hundreds of investment tips ... to not only survive ... but actually thrive" during the apocalypse.
Let me see if I've got this straight: Catastrophic world conditions are on their way but you can be one of the chosen few to profit from the coming years of pain and suffering simply by shelling out $22 for this book. Sound like the Reagan years? Is it possible that this kind of economic Darwinism is what got us to this crisis in the first place? And if so, are not the authors part of the problem? At $22 a crack, they have assured themselves a place among the select few to be positioned above the fray. Apocalypse books rank third in sales after books about sex or violence ` and are about as enlightening.
Kenneth A. Willaman
I am writing in regard to Ron Smith's review of "The Great Reckoning: How the World Will Change in the Depression of the 1990s."
If Mr. Smith's review accurately reflects the content of this book, then I heartily disagree with the authors' viewpoint. Our nation can turn the innovative brain power, manufacturing capacity and funds expended on military hardware and personnel to creation of new and improved manufacturing and services. Money made available from reduced military outlays can fund renewal of our bridges, water and sewer systems, and expand our roads and highways.
For an example as to how a nation freed from burdensome military outlays can prosper, one nee only look at Japan. Development of the potential productive resources of countries such as Russia and China can only be a positive factor in the world's economy. Finally, the underdeveloped nations of the world will benefit from all this industrial activity and become consumers of other nations' products and services. I believe that the above scenario is as likely to occur as the gloomy predictions of Davidson and Rees-Moog.
Having read the column of Juan Sabalones (Other Voices, Feb. 5), I wonder what makes him think that his comments were really responsive to Dan Rodricks' Dec. 27 column or to the many letters from citizens who do not appreciate how obtuse and stubborn the operators of the National Aquarium are.
It matters not whether the aquarium makes money. It is probably true that it provides a small contribution to public education about the environment, that the staff makes relatively modest salaries and that individual staff members are very fond of the aquarium's creatures and feel pain when they die.
The real issue is how many more whales, dolphins, seals, etc. must die prematurely before aquarium officials face the fact that these large, sensitive creatures are meant to live in the wild, that they cannot thrive in captivity and that it is not necessary to keep them in captivity in order for humans to study and learn from them.
rwin H. Desser
Your insert on black history, "Focus on Education" (Feb. 4), indicates a seriously flawed approach to education. The material described concerning black history and social sensitivity is important, but the fundamental subjects are not mentioned any place in the insert.
Further, on the following day, the front page featured an article indicating that U.S. students are among the worst in the civilized world in at least two of these fundamentals.
Is this not an indication that these subjects are being neglected? The subjects which are so important are communication
(reading, writing, and speech), mathematics and science. These are the tools that students must have to continue learning, coping with conflicting information and making appropriate judgments for the remainder of their lives. Methods for teaching them were well known many years ago. They do not require expensive programs to teach well, and they should be emphasized in education programs.