vendredi 31 octobre 2008


The music in the supermarket was depressing. Kean, Coldplay and then some abject cover version of "Why did you have to be a heartbreaker?' The Géant in down town Lille was never going to be a happy place. Even in Spring and in the best of times, its location right next to the ringroad on which a steady roaring flow of traffic flashed by and at the edge of an industrial estate, passing through its faulty automatic doors it would feel like a major downer. On a grey end of Autumn morning it feels like a dose of medication. Inside, the clientelle all look pissed off. A man passes by and stops at the meat section. Hopefully, it's he who smells like that and not the lumps of oozing meat on sale. A small youngish woman whose eyes are ringed red shuffles past, an older man with a mashed drinkers nose drags himself down an aisle clutching a five litre plastic tub of wine. The publicity promises that 'These are the days where we fight for your spending power.' But all over Europe, living standards are falling. People have cut back spending on non vital things but now have started to curtail spending on food too. Activity has slowed down and people do less. There is no coincidence that the psychological term 'depression' means much the same thing. There is no need to think of psychological depression as a general 'mood' or the expression of some dysfunctional interior state. Like its economic namesake, it is all down to a functional crisis. That is, something holistic that has gone wrong that results in the curbing of activity. The Keynesian route out of the economic form of depression would have its analogy in the cognitive behavioural therapy applied to people who suffer from depression. Give people something to do, anything to stimulate them back to recovery. It cannot work. These palliative measures are tiny reminders that greater remedies are possible but under current circumstances, have been blocked off by recurrent indoctrination, ridicule and forgetting.

In the meantime, we line up with our compromised choices and disappointment, waiting for the upturn that will never arrive.