I have been thinking of the opposition of some New Yorkers (cited in a New York Times poll yesterday) to the building of a community center near the site of the former World Trade Center.
The reason deep down, it seems to me, is that New Yorkers unconsciously equate the building of the community center with a kind of triumphalism. It may not be the intentions of the builders to look triumphant, but that’s what it probably evokes in many insecure New Yorkers for whom the post-9/11 insecurity hasn’t faded.
In physics, effects propagate locally in time and space and the future cannot affect the present. In the social sciences, economics in particular, the imagined far-away future can affect the present, and hence affect the actual future too.