Sunday, August 28, 2011

Economic growth stalls amidst debt crisis, austerity

A new batch of economic figures released this week confirms a renewed economic downturn, amidst an intensified assault on jobs and living conditions internationally.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the gross domestic product of its member countries grew by only 0.2 percent in the second quarter of this year, dropping from 0.3 percent in the first quarter.

Growth has slowed for four consecutive quarters, hitting the lowest level in two years.

The OECD’s 34 members include the UK, Russia, Japan, Canada, the United States and most countries in the Eurozone. Most of the member nations separately announced their growth figures earlier this month. German economic growth all but collapsed, expanding only 0.1 percent in the second quarter, compared to 1.3 percent in the first.

The Japanese economy shrank 0.3 percent, after contracting .9 percent in the first quarter. The French economy stopped growing completely, after an expansion of 0.9 percent. The United Kingdom grew just 0.2 percent, after expanding 0.5 percent in the first quarter.

Three years after the financial crash of 2008, none of the problems that have plunged the world economy into a recession, resulting in the destruction of millions of jobs, have been resolved. The bailout of the financial system has transferred the bad assets of the banks onto government balance sheets, and the ruling class is responding through brutal austerity measures and intensified exploitation. more