Essay: A Theory of the Panic

Try this theory on for size: people value money desperately because they value one another desperately; thus the cause of panic in the recent stock-market plunge is not that people will lose their dollars but that they will lose their sense of community. Did someone holler, "Crackpot!"? But look:

For the past couple of weeks, the nation has watched itself roll toward ruin because people were losing their money in bales. If one were tasteless enough to ask a big loser what exactly he was losing, he would sputter, incredulous, "What am I losing? My boat! My car! My home, my...