Last updated: 3:51 am
December 23, 2008
Posted: 2:57 am
December 23, 2008
ARE you afraid that the eco nomic downturn could get out of hand? I mean, really out of hand?
Well, don't worry.
The US Army War College is on the case - ready to handle "unforeseen economic collapse" and the "rapid dissolution of public order in all or significant parts of the US."
And you thought we were just dealing with a recession!
In a report published Nov. 4 - just in time for the holiday season - the War College's Strategic Studies Institute posited a number of shocks that the country should be prepared for, including unrest caused by the economy's failure.
The report has a snappy title, "Known Unknowns: Unconventional 'Strategic Shocks' in Defense Strategy Development," and was written by Nathan Freier, a visiting professor at the college. The foreword was written by Col. John A. Kardos, director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
Freier lists a number of possible things we should worry about - because we probably don't have enough of our own - including run-of-the-mill terrorism and the fact that China and Russia could align against us politically and economically.
"Some of the most plausible defense-relevant strategic shocks remain low-probability events," Freier soft-pedals before going on to scare the hell out of us.
The War College says "widespread civil violence inside the US would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security."
Among things Freier wants us to worry about are "deliberate employment of weapons of mass destruction. . . unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency and catastrophic natural and human disasters."
Oh, and by the way, have a Merry Christmas!
I have a confession to make: I am a member of the United Auto Workers union.
It's not a "confession" in the sense that there is anything wrong with it.
Here's how my membership happened.
I teach a course at New York University. And a couple of years ago, the United Auto Workers unionized the university's adjunct professors, or teachers who are happy to be underpaid because we earn a living elsewhere.
The union apparently thought untenured teachers were a better bet than people who make cars. And, guess what, it was right.
Anyhow, after being threatened by the union with dismissal from NYU if I didn't join, I reluctantly began paying dues. And I completely forgot about it until the matter came up at a Christmas party at the university last week.
So, you are probably wondering if I think my brother union members should give concessions to keep GM, Ford and Chrysler alive.
I'll have to get back to you on that after I check with headquarters.
So, you are losing sleep because of the financial markets.
Maybe it's because of your mattress.
A research firm in Cleveland says the economy and financial stress are affecting sales of bedding.
Longbow Research reports that 87 percent of retail ers it surveyed said mattress sales are declining.
Longbow says that the sales decline worsened in Octo ber and November.
Maybe people are afraid to change mat tresses because that's where all their money is hidden.