I am aiming to turn upside down some “truths” about the economy, jobs, where wealth comes from, and who stands to gain the most if we tap the armies of ignored and “inconvenient” poor and working poor who are presently left on the sidelines. We have some big problems and challenges to address, but despite what we might hear on the evening news, the United States remains the largest economy in the world, at approximately $16 trillion in annual gross domestic product.1 Our best years are not behind us. We have enormous human resources of wealth creation and opportunity just waiting to be unleashed.
The future of our economic story fully depends on overturning these powerful myths about how the economy works for the rich, the poor, the middle class, and everyone in between. We are all called to leave our comfortable assumptions and to arrest the crumbling of the American dream that built this country in the first place.
For instance, consumers—not businesses or governments—power the bulk of our massive economy, with fully 70 percent of the economy dependent on consumer spending.2 This means that you and I are driving the largest economy in the world, by purchasing everything from iced cappuccinos to ice shovels, from gas to put in our cars to the cars themselves. Sustained economic growth and the fortunes of the other 30 percent of the economy represented by businesses and governments, therefore, depends on the economic vibrancy of ordinary consumers, most of whom are not wealthy.
Many men and women call themselves artists, yet express in their work no more than their most superficial inner turmoil. There is nothing authentic or profound; only the froth of life. Too full of themselves, they are unable to produce the inner space of freedom where the Creator Spirit breathes, and to enter the silence where the springs of childhood sing.
Jeanne was silent. Such silence was not a wall in the shade of which she might turn in on herself. It was more of an expanding place of welcome, requiring an ever more attentive, more attuned listening to the calls emanating from nature, from humans, and from God. In truth, it was an opening of the whole being to the breath of the Creator. Beyond all her inner tensions, Jeanne recovered the freshness and malleability she had had as a child, when she was pure receptiveness, like soft wax in the hands of an artist.
Jeanne was born in Cancale, a small fishing port in the north of Brittany. Growing up in the modest home of a family of fishermen, she was not yet four year old when her father was lost at sea. In order to feed her four children, Jeanne’s mother did menial work. The family owned a small herd of cattle, and Jeanne was still very young when she started looking after the cows on the hills above the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. Her days were spent in solitude and silence, facing the immensity of the sea, the mysterious sea whence her father had not returned. That sea nevertheless held a fascination for her, limitless blue in the sun, as far as the eye could see; a sea that could be dark and frightening when, under a low gray sky, wild winds chased howling waves, like terrified beasts, into the rocky cliffs of the Pointe du Grouin.
The interest of this book lies chiefly in the unpublished material by John Bowlby: the excerpts from his correspondence with me, and the Milan seminar, in which he presents his theoretical views and then discusses three case histories, in addition to other circumscribed topics.
In the correspondence, he reveals sharp attention to new developments, such as Greenberg and Mitchell's book, and great readiness to share his knowledge and give advice, from which I greatly benefited. I believe he was moved when I discovered the pre-war book he had written with his friend Evan Durbin, who later died prematurely. The longest letter he wrote to me was about his friend. One characteristic that stands out in the correspondence is Bowlby's constant involvement with the USA. As he states in the Acknowledgments in Attachment, his work at the Tavistock had been supported by American Foundations, and he had been to Stanford on a fellowship and later as Visiting Professor. In his correspondence with me, he repeatedly apologises for answering late on account of lecture tours in the USA, in particular at neo-Freudian institutions such as the William Alanson White Society and the Karen Horney Psychoanalytic Institute (where he presented “Violence in the family”), which he obviously found very congenial. When I asked him who else was moving in the same direction as he, he mentioned five American authors (letter of 24th June, 1982).