No, we’re not living in a ‘post-materialistic’ society, and no, we’re no just going to ignore the economy in favor of dealing with every new ‘social issue’ that’s hip these days.

Matthew Dragonette at The College Conservative writes:

Why Economics Still Matter

Beginning in the 1970s, University of Michigan professor Ronald Inglehart proposed a theory about a “post-materialistic” America (and indeed, world) in which national focus would switch from economic and militaristic build-up, and concentrate on the proliferation of social change fueled by a desire for “self-expression.” The events–and rapid social change–of the past four decades seem to have provided evidence to support this theory. Turn on the television, open up a web browser, or even watch proceedings in Congress, and you will find coverage on a whole host of issues that have little to do with the economy. Of course, the recent “Great Recession” propelled economic issues to the forefront for a time, but media today hardly spare our economic problems a passing glance.

A part of me is happy that our nation has created a society in which economic growth does not need one hundred percent of its attention. It is a decidedly good thing to have a prosperous nation in which the vast majority of us are fed, sheltered, and not living desperately.

However, we must also remember that the American economy will not remain unchanged forever. A basic comparison of today’s economy, with its technological boom, large service sector, and urbanized markets with the 1800s economy of rural, agrarian workers and limited trade reach shows just how dramatic that change can be. Regardless of the form that it takes, the economy is vital to the nation’s health. Preserving individual rights and educating young people are vital to any nation-state, but food and other physical necessities are vital to people.

If a nation is a ship, then an economy is surely its engine. Engines sometimes need tune-ups, or even overhauls, but in the end the ship cannot sail without the power of the engine. If we fail to treat the engine properly and forego the necessary maintenance, it begins to sputter. And that is the situation we face today.

It is not that other issues are unimportant, it is that this issue is vital and needs attention. Now.