Monday, October 13, 2008

Audio: Interview with Tom Engelhardt, Editor of TomDispatch - Oct. 14, 2008

Tom Engelhardt discusses his latest article, "My Depression -- or Ours?"
Download: MP3 File

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Anonymous said...

I read your "Depression article with great interest. Then listened to the pre-article

I consider myself a pragmatic realist.

I am of your generation, will be 64 next Monday, and am not depressed now.
My mate of 35 years is 67. I quit my job in 1992 to go to another state with my mate. There was no job for me there nor one for me where I am. I am too well educated (Analytical Chemistry) and too old unless I want to work for Walmart.

In November 2007 we were in monetary crisis and my depression level was high. The money left after bills was going half as far as in 2006. I was depressed then, but pragmatically found a solution. I was 63 and could draw my Social Security so I signed up. The long term loss is significant, but not surviving today to have a long term was not an option. I am vested in my companiy's retirement plan but must wait until I am 65 to draw on it. Likewise my IRA.

I manage all money matters.

With prices skyrocketing (or dropping (gas was $2.94/gal on the 13th), our finanacial future is shaky at best. Turning 65 will help as long as the companies that hold our retirement funds are sound we are okay. Is that iffy? Probably but I am optimistic since my company deals in things people must have. I have no decision on the IRA since it does not matter yet so I can explore my options as long as the companies remain sound. If they do not we will be in trouble. Then I'll get depressed again. But as a pragmatic realist I will find a solution.

Two years ago when my mate retired, I talked to the manager of the retirement fund. The gist of what I said is to watch the market carefuuly because 1) We owe our country to China. 2) Wages here since 2000 have been increasing 1 percent while the cost of living increases 3 percent.
3) Companies have shifted overseas for labor and income has dropped significantly. 4) Rich people the have loop holes and tax breaks while the poorer get the shaft. (Said nicer).

In 2006 when I heard about the housing thing, I called again and the manager said had already the problem was recognized and the company sold their shares and went to another plan. So we lost very little which was reocouped in early 2007 and grew until 2008 when the bottom fell out. When we hit 9% loss (my do not go past number) I called again and changed our plan to safer and will change back when (if) the market seems stable.

Many people do not have the time and or knowledge I have. I have educated myself on the internet on many subjects and through analysis have formed my own theories about many things to keep my mind activie and out of curiosity. One such is horse and dog racing. I developed my own plan and it works. My overall ROI (return on investment) bounces between 70 and 80 percent. No I am not sharing. If push comes to shove I can go bet the horses. But there are always slumps to deal with which could be disastrous on a week to week basis. Walmart is also always an option but not a very good one.

Cheer up things will get better. Search for solutions for your depreesion, act on them and your depression will have to take a back seat. I remain depressed about the millions who are not as lucky as I am, but since there is little I can do except offer my sympathy and advice (only if asked) I must live the the helpless depression but must not let it rule my life.

Keep up your good work you are appreciated.

My one claim to fame is that I claim the title of worst typist in the world so please forgive typos missed on editing.


Avl Guy said...

Tom, I am a new reader of your blog, thanks to a reference given you today by Mike Panzner at his Financial Armageddon blog.

I see you wrote this blog, "My Depression -- or Ours?", a week ago on Oct 13, and you have since posted, "Mike Davis: Casino Capitalism, Obama and Us", where this incredibly insightful phrase appeared: “In a fundamental sense, they were blind because they lacked the concepts necessary to organize a coherent vision of an utterly new landscape.”

Wow. I think your 10/13 post and your depression & gloom were partly fueled by a fundamental fear of witnessing something you could not grasp. But I see your Mike Davis post just 2 days later seems evidence of your efforts to organize your own coherent vision.

I would like to share mine with you, but I think I will do so as a comment on that 10/15 post and not here. Here, instead, I’d like to share with you & your readers something I’ve shared with my face-2-face circle as well as my extended circle in blogdom & email-land: how we’ve all been plunged into the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle.

Some of the head-butting we're seeing amongst readers, writers, and citizens, is caused by being at different stages in the Grieving Cycle over this monumental change which is also a 'loss' for us. We can see and say assorted views at certain stages, while other's at a different stage "hear" something quite different than what was spoken.
Much that’s expressed when at the Acceptance stage may still sound insensitive or intolerable to even those who’ve progressed to the nearby Testing stage. Most blog readers are still rotating between the first 4 cycles.

[Please copy & distribute]
The Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss doctor, spent much time with dying people, both comforting and studying them. Her book, 'On Death and Dying' included emotional states called the Grief Cycle whose universality is observed in life experiences including how we're affected by bad news such as losing their jobs, seeing our belief system debunked and witnessing dreams deferred if not derailed for the foreseeable future.

Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.

Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.

Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.

Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.

Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.

Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.

Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward