April 06, 2014
Goin’ Down That Same Old Road…

Larry Elliott has become one of my go-to folks on economics. In The Guardian today he compares the rosy take on the global economy of the near future to views that were popular ten years ago, before the Great Recession, when the economy seemed to be on the mend after the collapse of the dot-com boom. He lists five reasons the presumed economic recovery might turn out to be an illusion, among them historically low interest rates and the apparently widespread idea that fracking will prove to be a profitable method of generating energy. Number five is economic inequality.

For the first three decades after the second world war, the global economy was by and large the story of a rising tide lifting all boats. That is no longer the case, with a tiny elite now grabbing the lion’s share of global growth. At the bottom, and increasingly for those in the middle as well, it is a case of wage squeezes, high unemployment, debt, austerity and poverty. The 85 richest people on the planet own the same wealth as half the world’s population but seem oblivious to the risk of widespread social unrest. So, of course, were the Bourbons and the Romanovs.
Posted by Chuck Dupree at April 06, 2014 10:08 PM
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"The expectation was that the good times would last for ever. No serious thought was given to the notion that total system failure was just around the corner."

I don't know if you've read Jared Diamond or not, but Joe Bageant recommended Guns, Germs and Steel to me and I read that and liked it so much I picked up a copy of his book "Collapse". The scientifiic method is referred to throughout. Jared Diamond is a conservative, the type of conservative that wouldn't find a home in the Republican Party but I've learned to spot conservatism as the diitionary defines it, not as our political parties defines and Diamond is quite conservative His stance on the environment would get him thrown out of the Republican party though.

He got into serious trouble over his last book but "Collapse" was quite a book. It had all the elements that have been in the news lately, all the doomsday specialists who always sseem to predicit it is this this generation's lot. The nine year olds are being called part of the "hot" generation". I don't think if I was nine and know what I know now, I'd be appreciativve of theat designation.

Diamond's book, "Collapse", details past failed civilizations and how and why they failed and one consistent themes of total system collapse is a huge buildup to a period of highest function and then wham! The whole thing collapses.But I've quit listening to the doomsday preachers. Diamond's book concludes with a prescription for our own system but he's not an economist nor an expert on anything he writes about except birds. His specialty before his award, his personal crisis and his attempts to persuade the world that failure of the system would come if we don't do anything about it was as a scientist who studied fluid transport across the gall bladder or maybe it was the pancreas. Not both. it was one or the other. Seriously. Give me a non-economoist any day. The experts always seem to get it wrong.

Now, let me go read the rest of the article and I'll tell you what I really think. Or probably won't.

Posted by: BP on April 7, 2014 10:08 AM
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