Clark’s counter to economic gloom and doom

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Welcome to the latest stop on my Living Large in Lean Times book tour. Today I’m coming to you from the campus of William Jessup University in an event hosted by my Sacramento affiliate Talk 650 KSTE.

The reason I wrote this book is because we are in a time when we’ve kind of lost our mojo. As a country, we’re feeling angry, frustrated and full of anxiety and doubts about the future. This disturbs me because I’m such an eternal optimist by date.

I want to read you a quote I read recently in The Financial Times of London.

“We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. When we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us.”

The quote is from Thomas B. Macaulay, a British poet, historian and politician who criticized doomsayers in 1830. If you know history, you know that we were on the cusp of enormous change in life and our lifespan in 1830. It was the age of the telegraph, the railroads and the dawn of the machine age really coming to life. Yet people were pessimistic then just as they are now.

The truth is we as a country have fouled up. We’ve done a lot over the last couple decades that on reflection it was like, “What was I thinking?” But we all did this together. You can’t blame the problems just on the banks or the government at all levels spending like crazy or us on a household level taking on unprecedented levels of debt. It’s all happened together and it became part of our culture.

What happens when you party too much? You get the hangover, but it’s not funny like the movie of the same name.

I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties both past and present. But I want to distinguish between what we have done and what we’re going to do. There’s no reason to believe the future is bleak. We have challenges, opportunities and problems, but we are not at a dead end.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired August 25, 2011 for network affiliates and was then rebroadcast Sept. 5.  

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