Before I begin, I want to say I am not an expert in macroeconomics. I’m just one person, trying to attain clarity in my thought by writing it out.


One of the high points of my normal week is my Saturday morning visit to our local coffee shop. I get a cup, read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and generally indulge my inner Mitteleuropan intellectual. Like old Vienna.

Yesterday I went and got my last coffee, to go, for now. The coffee shop is closing as of tomorrow. They tried to keep operating on a takeout-only basis, but it wasn’t enough. Until they can open fully, their doors are shut.

Is this closing temporary or permanent?

That is a very good question.

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From certain upper vantage points in Boston’s Museum of Science, you get an excellent view of the Back Bay skyline. One time I was up there, surveying the towers, and it hit me: money is blood for buildings.

Every office in all those vast assemblages of square footage needs an occupant. If unoccupied, they start to go to seed; if a building starts to lose tenants, it loses the ability to attract tenants. Money is blood. Every office in every skyscraper needs a supply of money to support it, just as every part of every body needs a stream of blood to sustain it. An office without that lifegiving stream starts to rot. If enough buildings rot, the town starts to rot. I’ve seen rotting towns. They’re not pretty.

But for now at least, Back Bay in Boston has all the life-giving money it needs. Somehow.