The planetary community today faces a grave economic crisis. Companies are faltering; unemployment, poverty, and deprivation are rising. Foreclosures are escalating, and the ranks of the jobless keep growing. People who have lost their homes or jobs are sleeping in their cars and spending their days at libraries. Librarians have reported an increase in the use of their facilities and mounting despair among their users. Tent encampments for the homeless have sprouted up in various areas of the country. Similar tales of woe are happening in other countries.
Unfortunately, we have no guarantee that the United States, or any one country by itself, can jumpstart the global economy. It is clear that we need international cooperation; in particular, restrictive trade practices will not overcome the current crisis and will do more harm than good. As we go to press, the economic future is still very much in doubt. Let us hope that the massive efforts of the Obama administration will be effective. One thing is evident: we will need coordinated action by the other major economies of the world if we are to succeed.