The Third Depression & G20, The Shape Of Things To Come?

(11AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Paul Krugman outlines a serious warning in his NYT Op-Ed Sunday :

Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline – on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.

We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost – to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs – will nonetheless be immense.

And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world – most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting – governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.

In the face of this grim picture, you might have expected policy makers to realize that they haven’t yet done enough to promote recovery. But no: over the last few months there has been a stunning resurgence of hard-money and balanced-budget orthodoxy.

It is [the] the victory of an orthodoxy that has little to do with rational analysis, whose main tenet is that imposing suffering on other people is how you show leadership in tough times. And who will pay the price for this triumph of orthodoxy? The answer is, tens of millions of unemployed workers, many of whom will go jobless for years, and some of whom will never work again.

And Paul Jay of The Real News Network today explains what may well be the mechanics of how we get to the world Krugman describes, in this summary and critical analysis of the just concluded G20 Summit in Toronto.

Real News Network – June 28, 2010

Are extraordinary police powers and cuts to social safety net the G-20 plan for the future?


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    • Edger on June 29, 2010 at 04:43

    as ‘we will all have to make sacrifices for the good of the country’?

  1. Left political theory is suddenly once again very relevant and immeidate, the days of long-winded out of touch academic theory are numbered.  Take for instance, this from the very recent Travels of Prometheus:

    The mirror of social peace begins to crack. The European social democratic management is expiring and the current political classes take notice of it. While in some other countries the legal bases for this shift have already been voted in the parliaments under relatively peaceful circumstances, the enmities in Greece took an unexpected width. … An agreement with the state in the logic of the old social pact seems to become less and less probable because there is no economic, political and social base left for it. We are experiencing something new. Accustomed to struggle against the social pacification and its consensus, we might now be facing a new form of management tending towards a climate of war. Therefore it is all the more necessary to develop new perspectives, to venture some new hypotheses on social war.

    The ‘financial crisis’ which started last year is in fact not a crisis but a consequence of these new restructurings. While many states have reserved big sums of money to ‘save’ an amount of banks, it was in fact mainly the selling out of ‘public’ institutions and industries that continued. However, the states remain to have massive deficits; a few recipes to replenish their coffers have already been used. They shall have to continue cutting in the human flesh. The current Greek situation gives us a preview of what is awaiting us in other countries.

    The economic measures as they are being pushed through today in England, Spain, Italy, Greece and many other European countries are in fact diametrically opposed to what for decades used to be the paradigm of the ‘social state’: an acceleration of consumption on the interior market. On the one hand, the Greek state is reducing the access to consumption (reducing wages and pensions) and on the other hand it drastically increases the taxes on consumption wares hoping to get still some cash. It is clear that they do not longer practise the European model of ‘including the poor’, they openly declare that a whole part of the population which is already touched by misery, must now submit itself to an imposed exploitation and may be happy for it.

    And other writings in the past couple of years include things like this, from The Coming Insurrection

    From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse. “The future has no future” is the wisdom of an age that, for all its appearance of perfect normalcy, has reached the level of consciousness of the first punks.

    The sphere of political representation has come to a close. From left to right, it’s the same nothingness striking the pose of an emperor or a savior, the same sales assistants adjusting their discourse according to the findings of the latest surveys. Those who still vote seem to have no other intention than to desecrate the ballot box by voting as a pure act of protest. We’re beginning to suspect that it’s only against voting itself that people continue to vote. Nothing we’re being shown is adequate to the situation, not by far. In its very silence, the populace seems infinitely more mature than all these puppets bickering amongst themselves about how to govern it.

    As an attempted solution, the pressure to ensure that nothing happens, together with police surveillance of the territory, will only intensify. The unmanned drone that flew over Seine-Saint-Denis last July 14th – as the police later confirmed – presents a much more vivid image of the future than all the fuzzy humanistic projections. That they were careful to assure us that the drone was unarmed gives us a clear indication of the road we’re headed down. The territory will be partitioned into ever more restricted zones. Highways built around the borders of “problem neighborhoods” already form invisible walls closing off those areas off from the middle-class subdivisions.

    A burst of laughter is the only appropriate response to all the serious “questions” posed by news analysts. To take the most banal: there is no “immigration question.” Who still grows up where they were born? Who lives where they grew up? Who works where they live? Who lives where their ancestors did? And to whom do the children of this era belong, to television or their parents? The truth is that we have been completely torn from any belonging, we are no longer from anywhere, and the result, in addition to a new disposition to tourism, is an undeniable suffering. Our history is one of colonizations, of migrations, of wars, of exiles, of the destruction of all roots. It’s the story of everything that has made us foreigners in this world, guests in our own family. We have been expropriated from our own language by education, from our songs by reality TV contests, from our flesh by mass pornography, from our city by the police, and from our friends by wage-labor.

    The best part of all of this is that none of it is happening in a vacuum, all this theory is instantly put to the test in action, whether gatherings like the US Social Forum, one-shot protests like the G20 demos in Toronto, or ongoinig organizing and struggle against the new forces of exploitation and repression such as we’ve seen in recent months in Greece and Iceland.  SO much for the end of history; it will take some work to really get it rolling again, but the kick-start seems to be working.

    • Edger on June 29, 2010 at 12:44

    to orange…

    • RiaD on June 29, 2010 at 15:55

    thank you


  2. Most liberals are in denial about who he is, perhaps they don’t even care.


    As the final Wall Street negotiations came to a close last week, the Obama administration quietly sided with Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) against most Democrats in support of a loophole in one of the key provisions of the financial reform bill


  3. historical debris and confidently see ourselves as different, celebrating our liberation from, strangely enough, ourselves. Yet all the glitz surrounding our synaptic high won’t change the simple fact that it’s just our turn to.. yes, yes,  be alive. Until man realizes this simple fact and adjusts his dreams of desire to dreams of gratitute, he will but only add to the debris of his legacy.

    Ludicrous posturing, proclamations and predictions by numskulls in neckties (and skirts too) probably won’t be enough. Keeping food, clothing, shelter, medicine etc. away from those who don’t have the right currency or credit is about as low as you can get, the bottom of the barrel of consciousness as far as I can see. And slapping mother nature in the face doesn’t help either.

    And our government says let’s tighten our belts, but don’t worry, it’s okay to leave a place for your gun and your favorite verse from the bible.  

    • RUKind on June 30, 2010 at 05:00

    • RUKind on June 30, 2010 at 05:18

    • banger on June 30, 2010 at 21:01

    … and, as I’ve said many times before, without a clear-eyed left-wing movement there is no stopping this march to neo-feudalims, neo-fascism or whatever you want to call it. It is inevitable only because there is no counter-force–just childish adults flashing the peace sign and giving flowers to cops.

    Whenever we have street demos that somebody doesn’t like just hire punks to break windows–or Arabs to fly planes into buildings or whatever. They did this shit in my day in the anti-war movement. Many of us saw direct results of that in destroying the movement back then. What was the point of having a large-scale movement when the feds would just hire agents provocateurs as was clearly the case in Toronto?

    New tactics are needed — ones that haven’t been already gamed by the international security forces (they are all one force now).  

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