Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When Does A Great Recession Become a Full-Fledged Depression?

Economists have their standard definitions. They work their numbers and proclaim when we are in a recession, out of a recession, when an economic recovery is taking place, and when that recovery is merely hitting a “soft patch.”

But really, who but the media, government officials, and economists themselves take these definitions seriously anymore when it comes to reflecting reality as experienced by most Americans? These days, not many people.

For most Americans, the recession didn’t end two years ago, economist definition notwithstanding. A recovery did not begin then. And the “soft patches” that have been occurring regularly in the last two years are not natural and unavoidable dips on the road back to traditional American economic well-being.

The country is still wallowing in recession. Unemployment has been vacillating between awful and getting more awful. Employment itself, except for those in the top economic rung, is not leading to any improvement in economic lifestyles, but rather a slow contraction of these lifestyles.

Given these realities, and the curiously detached mode of economist reportage, it is unlikely we will hear the “D” word uttered soon by these bean counters, or the media and public officials who employ economist terminology in their own economic descriptions. From them you won’t hear that we are on the lip of of full-fledged depression. But we are. (more)