T Junctions

Charlie Jane Ander's novel genre-mash-up novel All the Birds in the Sky uses the love affair between a witch and a techno-geek as a metaphor to pit science against magic . . . and while the book has its moments, it's ponderous at times-- the writing is vivid, but I didn't particularly care for the characters; the book does portray earth at an interesting T Junction: the scientists are abandoning ship while the more mystical folks are trying to find a way to save what's left of everything on earth-- not just the humans-- and this portion of the metaphor rings very true, with the presidential election looming and two roads diverging in the yellow wood for our country and the world to travel . . . a slightly less vivid and rather technical (but sort of readable) economic explanation of this is presented by Mohamed A. El-Erian in his book The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse . . . he believes that central banks functioned as critical policy actors, and while they fell asleep at the wheel before 2008, they actually steered us away from total financial collapse . . . but they can't keep it up, and if we don't change political and institutional policies we could be headed down a path of "lost generations, worsening inequality, spreading poverty and political extremism" but if political and financial policy follows some simple guidelines, and there is stronger "multilateral policy coordination" then the "second road of the T junction" leads to much better economic and social outcomes . . . I'm not going to pretend I understood everything in the book, but I did like his ending analogy that incorporated the Ali/Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" fight and the two possible outcomes predicted by the Ali camp and subsequent training strategies . . . this I understood; rather than read the book, if I were you, I would listen to El-Erian discuss the premise on Slate Money . . . he gives a clear synopsis and you might get hooked on the show, which is generally a lot of fun.

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