Twice today I've been dumbstruck by the frightening parallels between declining Book of Mormon civilizations and the global downspiral I'm reading about in the news. The Book of Mormon tells that the ancient societies of this continent began their destruction with elitist notions of fashion, on a number of occasions. I'm interpreting things loosely here, but when Mormon records that pride, in particular that which had to do with the "wearing of costly apparel" preceded a division "into classes" and a subsequent persecution of Christ's apostles, even so much as to attempt to murder them, I see the tell-tale warning regarding our day. According to a study by labor economist Lynn A. Karoly, the income gap in the United States is widening, with, in fact, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
I also just read a remarkable article about the housing crisis in the New York Times dated Monday, April 14th, 2008 (today) that uses fairly circuitous language in placing blame for economic woes. Isn't it clear to everyone that the United States has again placed the world in crisis because of an irresponsible lust for prestige, or at the very least for property? According to the article by Mark Landler, the struggling housing market's effect is rippling across the globe, mostly induced by a lack of consumer confidence, even across the Atlantic. In markets where things were hot, like East Europe and Hong Kong, things are cooling considerably. Yet much of the language lays blame to some economic deus ex machina, the proverbial hand of fate, for the problem. It seemed reminiscent of the peoples of the Book of Mormon, who would reject the wisdom of the prophets and then lament their dead, their starvation, etc. though had they heeded God's direction they would have continued to prosper.
I'd use more references to make the correlation more apparent, but I've lingered long enough and need to get home to my sweetheart and son.