Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Not a "Recession," Stupid!

It annoys me beyond what I can describe to hear people talk about the current economic crisis in the US as a "recession." For those who fail to see the importance of not using the wrong term to describe what is going on, here is a dictionary definition of the word "recession":

recession  /rɪˈsɛʃən/


1. the act of receding or withdrawing.

2. a receding part of a wall, building, etc.

3. a withdrawing procession, as at the end of a religious service.

4. Economics. a period of an economic contraction, sometimes limited in scope or duration.
Get it? LIMITED in scope or duration. If something recedes for a while, it has the capacity of going back. Like the tide that recedes and then comes back in. It withdraws and then comes back.

So if you talk about what is going on right now in this country's economy as a "recession", it means that you are clinging to the misguided belief that eventually things will go back to the way they were before the current economic meltdown. Come on, are you kidding me? It is never going to go back. We have to acknowledge that this is no temporary recession. This is a deep-seated systemic crisis of huge proportions that is going to transform the way we live, whether we want it or not.
Preferring to hide in illusion from unpleasant, uncomfortable reality is what got this society into the current crisis. Let's not compound our mistake by refusing to recognize what is going on.


V said...

Let me rephrase it a little...
It CAN go back, or at least it can go back to looking as it used to be. After all, the oil consumption is going to increase, and so are the prices and so are the speculations.

But that's exactly when everybody should really get scared. Because that would mean we learned nothing from the crisis/recession/whatever it is.

Clarissa said...

Oh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. The people's capacity to kid themselves and to pretend that nothing really bad is going on will help them do just that. I, too, spent a long time "waiting for it to end." Until I realized that lying to myself about this is not very productive.

Things are not as dire in Canada, though, are they?

V said...

---Things are not as dire in Canada, though, are they?

Hard to say. You do not believe they were worse than in the US in the first place. :) :)
Everything got more expensive, so I do not experience any deflation.

I am looking at my TIAA-CREF statements, which almost bounced back to where they were before the crisis... And even though that should make me happy, it scares me.

Clarissa said...

" You do not believe they were worse than in the US in the first place. :) :)"

-Come on, my friend, I need to believe in something. Canada is for me this mythical place where everything is good and people are happy. And in case things go really bad here, I can olways go back to Canada and sing kumbayas all day long with intellectual, progressive Canadians. :-) :-)