jeudi 23 octobre 2008

Recession - world tour

Sarkozy over here and Brown in Britain used to be keen on the idea that the recession (surely 'depression'?) would not effect their countries. In France, people are used to being reassured in this way, as back in 1986, was it?, when Chernobyl blew up, the French government insisted that the radioactive cloud would stop at the French borders. It didn't, of course, but by the time anyone took time to take any readings, things had just moved on. In Britain, it was treated, like all foreign news, as something far away about which we need to know as little as possible since it's to do with foreigners isn't it? It just can't effect us at all.

Well, that was then. The era of globalisation has shrunk imperial grandiosité and everyone now accepts that the slump will hit all countries. The comrades over at write that "Recessions in US and Europe inevitably produce massive overcapacity in China, leading to swelling inventories, falling prices, plant closures and dramatically rising unemployment." which is surely part of the process, though Marxist theory argues that it is the over-production that causes the recessions in the first place.

The capitalist class has internationalised its system to the fullest extent possible. They knew the risks and the scale of the inevitable meltdown that would follow. The banking crisis has been a good way to get themselves a cushion to soften their landing. For the rest of us, a hard time on all fronts will follow. Indeed that whole stale metaphorical juggle about hard and soft landings is so bailed-out and bush. The British/US/Antartic economy is in for a 'soft landing' is a phrase that is spouted a lot in the economic sections of the media. It is entirely rendundant and there solely to send the viewer into a hypnotic state so as to forget the whole viscious mess. (For boom or bust, the working class will always lose out).

Apart from the fact that airline businesses are going bust, just how is the metaphor meant to convince? Who are the passengers? Where are we?they? going? Why can't the pilots land the planes very well? What do we do when we get off the plane that always seems to be heading for a soft landing but never really gets there? Who is in the control tower? Why don't the passengers hijack the plane since it seems to be going nowhere anyway.........