Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Was that a mistake? The town centre is the saddest of all. Stores are shutting. Empty storefronts seem to mock shoppers. Fifteen years ago, I remember the central shopping centre being filled with throngs of shoppers on Saturday afternoons, and every storefront open. Now, there is row after row of empty space.

And yet unemployment is low, the government trumpets, consumer confidence is high. If this is prosperity, what will an actual recession look like?

That could easily describe vast swaths of the US. What you describe could easily be my current town. Something has gone terribly wrong in both countries. For the UK, it seems to have begun with Thatcher. For us, it was Ronnie the Raygun. Whatever flavor of capitalism one may call it, I can safely conclude it has left so much in ruins. Ordinarily I am an optimist. It is hard for me to find the silver lining.

"There are no innocents. There are, however, different degrees of responsibility." -- Lisbeth Salander

by Don Durito on Thu Mar 28th, 2019 at 02:58:45 AM EST
It's the imbalance between capital and labour.

When unemployment was low and labour had bargaining power, growth had to be shared. Mechanically.

Now that capital has (definitively, in my view) the upper hand, the dynamic is broken.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 28th, 2019 at 05:56:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two major industries (and a legion of only-slightly-less important ones have profited mightily while the pauperisation of the proletariat/precariat has run amok.
What good is the fact that you can buy a $1 screwdriver if you're homeless, especially if it breaks only after a week?
That's the supposed payoff all this evisceration for all but the micro-few 1%.
Those two areas of the economy are fossil fuels and finance.
Since the Carter years and the invention of PV and wind turbine tech, if the 'deciders' had listened to the ecologists we could have had that Green New Deal they're still play-toying with while the planet ambiental forces are starting to react with ever more emphasis to our nest-fouling ways.
Energy companies beat back progress for those crucial decades, stymying and pooh-poohing, deriding, smearing, and mostly bribing, the whole 9 yards, buying congress and the Senate to continue funding and subsidising fossil fuels, suburbia and individual road transport.
Decades, down the drain.
Finance developed new channels for hiding money and new exotic casino games to suck the nest eggs of millions into the omelette of their profits, our losses.
The drug of privilege this relatively effortless hijack conferred was so strong and addictive, what was merely amoral became immoral as facts were hidden in secret reports that proved said 'deciders' knew the consequences of their actions.
The key players in these two kingpin industries have determined the fate of civilisation's future, and almighty is their grip. Millions have died in the wars dedicated to fostering this paradigm.
Running national economies while a huge proportion of the wealth created by workers is foxholed away leads to a situation similar to a popular challenge at state fairs: running an engine with no oil in the crankcase and taking bets on how long it would go before... (please supply adequate descriptor here).
The US and the UK have operated the socio-economic machinery from behind the curtains since the pirate days of the 16thC.
Now in full noxious flower, still trying to deny what any fule know, still buying influence and ripping off countries, tribes, whole peoples of their birthright in the name of cutthroat crony capitalism, wealth to the crafty, poverty for the rest.
Fat ladies fighting over the last, highest catcall of them all.
Trump is a fitting apotheosis to this horrific carnival of clever-clever dunces.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 30th, 2019 at 11:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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