I’ve been in a baseball kind of mood these past weeks and have found myself going back through my collection of books on the topic. Roger Kahn has no equal. And I’m also rather fond of Peter Gollenbock’s series of oral histories on different cities and franchises.
Last night I finished off “The Spirit of St. Louis”, which ends with a glowing tribute to slugger Mark McGwire. The book was written in 2000, after the discovery of andro in his clubhouse locker but long before the Mitchell report, McGwire’s own appearance in front of Congress and the critical lens through which the period’s now viewed due to steroids. Reading about the home run race between McGwire and Sammy Sosa in such celebratory tones seems dated at best, wrong at worst.
The problem is there’s no perspective given the date the book was published. Everyone still was caught up in the hype of watching these men hit 60-plus home runs and few had thought to question how they were doing it.
You can find the same thing happening here in the Phoenix real estate market. Recently, an article in the New York Times suggested the real estate bubble will be one more mania suitable for printing in the Madness of Crowds. Maybe so, but that’s not a call you can make only two years removed. Because human nature is such that we tend to overexaggerate recent history and the present and lose all perspective in the process.
I’m also reading Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within, written at the end of the savings and loan scandal. Given the era during which the book was written, it’s understandable when he frames the scandal as unique since the days of the Depression. You hear the same thing being said about the current economic situation which, in reality, is more dire. Still, reading the causes of the savings and loan scandal makes you realize the underlying factors weren’t much different this time around.
So for all the talk of the post-consumer era and reforms that will have to happen, the reality is greed will dictate as greed always does. And as unprecedented as all of this may be, it’s just another cycle. We will recover from this and then we’ll be faced with the next “unprecedented” situation.
It’s inevitable, even if we lack the perspective to realize it most of the time.
[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]