Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The sum of economic fears

What's so scary about a really deep recession or Depression? Behind the prospects of lost jobs and reduced wealth lies the specter of political upheaval. Martin Wolf frames the danger:
Now think what will happen if, after two or more years of monstrous fiscal deficits, the US is still mired in unemployment and slow growth. People will ask why the country is exporting so much of its demand to sustain jobs abroad. They will want their demand back. The last time this sort of thing happened – in the 1930s – the outcome was a devastating round of beggar-my-neighbour devaluations, plus protectionism. Can we be confident we can avoid such dangers? On the contrary, the danger is extreme. Once the integration of the world economy starts to reverse and unemployment soars, the demons of our past – above all, nationalism – will return. Achievements of decades may collapse almost overnight.
From Depression to aggression -that's the road to ruin that lurks at the back of everyone's mind.

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