Every once in a while, Paul Krugman writes a post that I find moving and, dare I say, endearing. He had one today titled "The Scale of Things (Personal and Trivial)." It is personal. I don't think it's trivial. I think it's profound. After starting his post by talking about driving south from Secaucus, Krugman writes:
And as I headed south from Secaucus, I had one of those moments when the sheer scale of the world economy hit me.
The vista: in front of me the NJ Turnpike, 12 lanes wide at this point and already full of trucks early in the morning. On the right, Newark Airport, with many planes taking off and landing. On the left, the massive cranes of the Elizabeth container port marching off into the distance.
And Newark is only one of three New York airports; New York is, these days, only one of many huge global metropolitan centers. The scale of the whole thing is more or less literally inconceivable, in the sense that nobody can picture the reality of our getting and spending.
That's almost poetic, and I mean that in a good way. I like it when people occasionally sit and back and realize that we're talking about human beings here--many of them. He and I may disagree--and we often do--about what government policy should be with respect to these humans. But it's nice to see him seeing (and I'm not saying I ever doubted that he did) these humans as important.