Maybe you're like me. You check the stock market each day. Perhaps you watch a couple of stocks. You notice that they go up and down. September was a really bad month for stocks, but October was one of the best in years, maybe the best in more than 20 years. In fact, last I had heard we were in the black for the year -- stock market wise. We'd gained some and lost a lot and now we're at least back where we started.
There is an interesting dynamic going on that we might want to take into account. Tom Friedman has been making much ado about the world being flat, that we're in this global economy, so that what happens in one place affects another place. It's one of the reasons why even the President of the United States can't influence all the economic or even political variables.
If you've been watching the stock market you will have noticed that one of those variables has been the debt crisis in Europe. The stock market ebbs and flows depending on news concerning the state of the conversation with Greece and other Eurozone countries. Greece is a rather small country. At a little over 11 million people, it is smaller than Illinois, which has nearly 13 million people. We know that Illinois has had some economic problems of late, but the nation's economy isn't held hostage by it, nor is the world's economy really affected by the budgetary problems of Illinois. I realize that state debt and national debt are different, but the point I want to make is that right now our economic situation in the United States is being influenced by events in Greece.
You may have also heard that China's economy is slowing down a bit. That means that they may have less need for certain imports. It also may mean that China could pull back investments elsewhere. That could slow the global economy -- and thus America's economy.
So, what should we hear and see in these news stories?
It seems to me that whether we like it or not, we're all in this thing together. What happens in Illinois or Michigan can affect what happens in Mississippi and elsewhere. A drought (global warming anyone?) in the South could lead to skyrocketing peanut prices, making what has been a relatively in-expensive staple for many a family a luxury item.
Are we ready to enter a global world? We may not have a choice.