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jerryking : canals   4

Carpe Diem Nation - NYTimes.com
February 11, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.

Europeans who settled America gave their lives a slingshot shape. They pulled back so they could shoot forward. They volunteered to live in harsh conditions today so their descendants could live well for centuries. The pioneers who traveled West did the same thing. So has each generation of immigrants — sacrificing the present for the sake of the future.

This slingshot manner of life led to one of those true national clichés:..This future-oriented mentality had practical effects. For decades, government invested heavily in long-range projects like railroads and canals...Today, Americans have inverted this way of thinking. Instead of sacrificing the present for the sake of the future, Americans now sacrifice the future for the sake of the present...Why have Americans lost their devotion to the future? Part of the answer must be cultural. The Great Depression and World War II forced Americans to live with 16 straight years of scarcity. In the years after the war, people decided they’d had enough. There was what one historian called a “renunciation of renunciation.” We’ve now had a few generations raised with this consumption mind-set. There’s less of a sense that life is a partnership among the dead, the living and the unborn, with obligations to those to come....If the president were to propose an agenda for the future, he’d double spending on the National Institutes of Health. He’d approve the Keystone XL pipeline. He’d cut corporate tax rates while adding a progressive consumption tax. He’d take money from Social Security and build Harlem Children’s Zone-type projects across the nation. He’d means test Medicare and use the money to revive state universities and pay down debt.
David_Brooks  future  Obama  Great_Depression  WWII  instant_gratification  intergenerational_rivalry  delayed_gratification  foresight  far-sightedness  forward_looking  sacrifice  Keystone_XL  long-term  social_trust  consumption  the_Greatest_Generation  Carpe_diem  long-range  railroads  canals 
february 2013 by jerryking
On the Road: Where the Erie Canal Started - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com
January 1, 2010, 7:30 am
On the Road: Where the Erie Canal Started
By SEWELL CHAN

* See also Bernstein, Peter L. (2005). Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation
books  canals  Erie_Canal  infrastructure 
january 2010 by jerryking

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