Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus writes that recessions, especially sustained recessions like the current one, have psychological and social effects that go far beyond the economic ones. McManus is especially cognizant of individuals' likelihood to withdraw from civic organizations in difficult economic times and worried that such changes in behavior often last an entire lifetime. He quotes UCLA Professor Jennie Brand who notes that those who lose their jobs are 30% less likely to participate in civic organizations throughout the course of their entire lives, even after they regain their jobs.
McManus also worries about long term pessimism, which he claims (without empirical support) leads to less investment and lower birth rates. He notes that fewer than half of those surveyed now expect their children to live better than they do -- a substantial change from previous years.