What are today's driving forces?

Multicolored graphs and pages of numbers show up everywhere. In everything from news reports to school reports, they tell the story of forces at work in society. Forces, the reports contend, that are driving society. The economy, technological development, social trends, politics.

And yet whether we're scrutinizing a chart of spending patterns throughout a nation, or glancing at a survey showing the political preferences on a college campus, we shouldn't lose sight of what the numbers fundamentally represent. They are telling us what people have been thinking. Even what we call the driving force of a complex, multilevel economy ultimately boils down to thought-forces of confidence, fear, productivity, greed, stagnation, and so forth, contributed to by so many individuals.

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Hush the angels?*
September 29, 1997
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