I really meant to write a New Year’s post. But to be honest, the New Year somewhat passed me by: even though my computer and two phones remind me of the date, moving as I am every few days, and in such warm weather, it’s been hard to keep track of the passage of wintertime.
I’ve also kept quiet because I have little to add to the mountain of essays on what the aughts were really about. Terrorism, Technology, Climate, and Globalization were certainly the major themes of the decade, but trying to suss out which of these stories matters most strikes me as a futile exercise. Ask me again in 2050. As for my take on 2009, it’s been more or less dominated by the Obama presidency, and we all know how I feel about that.
Looking forwards, I’m predicting more of the same: individualists will continue to triumph politically, while governance, the work of institutions suffers. As states cede power, ‘non-state actors’ will gain. But the real power in the emerging era will belong to the few institutions–nations and companies–who can, through aggregation, reap success from the failures of others and who may even encourage those failures as a means to the end. It’s not a trend I welcome, but it’s one I recognize.
Personally, the aughts were a swell decade for me. I grew out of my awkward stage. I got out of my awkward high school. I spent five years getting my intellectual ass-kicked by people who wound up my best friends. I worked at three great magazines in what might be the final apotheosis of the newsmagazine economy. And I got this great boondoggle of a trip to South Asia. If 2010 brings more of the same to my own life, that’s fine by me.