Letter to the Editor: The Economy versus the People?

Recently, someone wrote to the Pulse to support reopening Door County for business by saying that the economy is a larger (more important) concern than the health of our residents (and possibly also our visitors).

Although I understand that times are tough (my family experienced serious rationing during WWII and many years of poverty afterward), I cannot agree that the structure of an economy is more important than the health of the people who create it. 

If we lived in a feudal society, monarchy, oligarchy or dictatorship, we would be beholden to those who arranged the economy for their own wealth and power, but thanks to our Constitution, the U.S. is a republic. A republic is, by definition, “a state in which the supreme power rests in the people and their elected representatives.” In a republic, the economy should exist to serve the people and not the other way around. 

If we have learned anything during this pandemic, it is that our entire way of life (and our survival as human beings) depend on “essential workers”: those who harvest, prepare and distribute food; and those who safeguard the health of people in both local and global contexts. This is the economy that deserves our support, and it is badly in need of repair.

The rest of the economy has turned out to be far less essential to human survival than we thought. For the most part, it is about acquiring money, which is useful only if you are alive to spend it. In the words of the famous playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, “You Can’t Take It with You!” 

Estella Lauter

Fish Creek, Wisconsin