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Commerce and Culture

Traders Magazine, November 2001

John A. Byrne

A phrase made famous by Franklin D. Roosevelt is repeated in times of economic and political distress: fear nothing but fear itself. This advice, although generally sensible, can sometimes turn idiotic. It can lead to hubris. It can lead to a form of unbridled capitalism expressed in the relentless love of material possessions. This phenomena may have had its apotheosis in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy when the Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, urged New Yorkers to hit the theatre district, to have dinner in Manhattan and to spend like wanton heathens. The mayor, who did not intend to be disrespectful, was clearly aware of how money and consumption are at the backbone of New York commerce and culture.

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