Let’s look outside of the bubble now

So far I’ve used this blog to talk about the way the U.S. is changing: What are we thinking, doing and creating differently in a post-Bush world? How has the economic crisis affected us?

For a moment I’d like to take a giant sidestep out of this bubble and ask, How has the economic crisis affected the rest of the world? We’re not the only ones changing, and it’s important to recognize that changes here translate into changes abroad, that decisions made by our government — and decisions made by us — affect workers and families abroad. (Again, watch this video for more inspiration — we’re all connected!).

I turned to my El Salvador correspondent, Alia Malik, for some insight.  Alia made a reputation for herself at The Baltimore Sun, where she wrote stellar stories about neighborhood tree disputes. She now lives in what she calls “the pineapple capital of El Salvador.” She’s 23 and in the Peace Corps. (Read her blog)

Have salvadoreños changed their views of the U.S. in the past year? I’m particularly interested to know if you’ve noted a difference since Obama’s election or since the crisis hit.

Salvadorans in general have a positive view of the states, considering literally a third of their citizens are there now.  Actually a positive view might be an understatement; a lot of them tend to think of it as El Dorado and are surprised to hear there are poor, unhappy gringos too.  A lot of the Salvadorans I talked to were very happy that Obama was elected, just because of his race, even though they don’t know much about his opinions.

The economic crisis in the States has affected El Salvador hugely. People’s remittances from their family in the States have plummeted, and a lot of Salvadorans who risked their lives to immigrate illegally have voluntarily returned because they can’t find work in the States after all.  So they move back home and start farming again and it’s kind of sad.  If there has been any change in the general impression of America here, I would say it’s that Salvadorans have realized that the U.S. is not El Dorado or the answer to all their prayers.

How has your life been affected by the economic crisis? What have you rethought?

My life has been completely changed by the economic crisis. I am re-thinking my goal to be a journalist, which previously never faltered in the face of great odds, because almost none my friends who graduated from j-school with me have managed to keep a job in journalism, even though they were stars in school.  I always joke that I’m better off economically in a Third World country right now, but it’s true.  I am toying with the idea of going to grad school for multimedia journalism when I finish up in the Peace Corps, but no even sure how I’ll afford that.  So in other words, I’m kind of panicking.  The upside is that I am here until November 2010, so maybe things will have turned around at least a little by then.  I know too little about the economy to make any kind of intelligent prediction, but that at least is my hope.

I’d like to make a note about the point of this blog. As much as I throw out the term economics, this blog is not about money or finances — it’s about people and ideas. How is a changing economic reality transforming the way we view ourselves? How is it changing our expectations, our immigration patterns, our families, our lifestyles, our ideals?

So, for those of you living outside the U.S. how has the economic crisis affected your country? And on a somewhat related tangent, have views of the U.S. changed since Obama’s election?

Julie.

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1 Response to “Let’s look outside of the bubble now”


  1. 1 Alia Malik September 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    I am 23! Check your facts!

    Seriously, love the blog.


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What is this blog?

The "Unstatic Blog" documents the changes going on around you and me. It will ask and answer — and then ask again — how is your world changing? Read and participate in the conversation.

stat⋅ic

/ˈstætɪk/ –adjective 1. pertaining to or characterized by a fixed or stationary condition. 2. showing little or no change: a static concept; a static relationship. 3. lacking movement, development, or vitality
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