Saturday, December 6, 2008

Will Americans lose their appetite for risk?

The Wall Street Journal worries that this economic crisis will cause Americans to lose their frontier spirit:
The greatest danger in the current economic crisis is that the United States will lose its historic appetite for risk. The mood now is that risk-taking got us into this mess. Risk, though, is the quintessential American trait that built the nation — from the Battle of Bunker Hill to the rise of the microchip. If we let risk give way to a new ethos of commercial reserve and regulatory restriction, the upward arc of the U.S. ascendancy will flatten.
The willingness of people to take risks is essential for entrepreneurship and a thriving free enterprise system. That said, I don't think a short-term slump will have a long-term effect on the essential character of the American people.

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