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Bring on the Recession!


I assume that economics is complex stuff, or they would not have so many university courses in it. And even after everyone has finished the courses, they continue to debate the various issues with very little certainty about what is best for everyone. So it is obviously presumptuous for me to butt into this debate with virtually no experience in academic economics. Hopefully I can remember that it is complex and that I don't know all the answers as I make some comments on what has been called "the world economic crisis".

So what IS this world economic crisis anyway? It sounds serious, like there is some terrible disaster which has happened (or possibly which is about to happen). Obviously a crisis like this, affecting the whole world, must be something we should all unite together in overcoming.

I do know that there is something happening in Kenya, where the price of maize has doubled and tripled in the past year, and where people are starving in some parts of the country because of the shortage. But that seems to be related more to riots last year, when they should have been planting their crops, and drought this year. So I am assuming that this "world economic crisis" is something far worse than the perennial riots and droughts.

Here in Australia, they have been using the word "recession" in relation to this crisis. But the strange thing here is that there is a lot of debate at the highest levels of government over whether or not we really are experiencing a recession, which does seem strange. Surely, if a disaster has hit the country, we should all be aware of it, shouldn't we?

I think our prime minister took drastic steps to deal with the crisis by giving a thousand dollars to virtually everyone in the country to spend on whatever they liked, in order to keep the economy booming. That was nice. But then I have to ask myself where he got all that money from. We can't seem to afford dental care, and they are talking about doing away with medicare because we have too many old people to look after. Yet, almost out of thin air, in a country with a fairly small population like our own, he was able to pluck a billion dollars just to be spent for the pure joy of spending it. That's pretty good, considering that we are going through a world economic crisis!

It seems that this spending thing is what it is all about. Like there is this giant merry-go-round that is running on inertia, and if it ever stops, we may never be able to start it again. So the more we spend, the more we keep it whirling around. But I'm curious about what would happen if we just left the merry-go-round and tried some other ride for a change.

I get the idea that the merry-go-round is just the connection between production and consumption, where, if you don't consume, I can't produce, and if I can't produce, I won't know what else to do with myself. Now I look at all of this from the perspective of someone who has this deep concern about us running out of resources... the stuff used to produce things that others consume. So it sounds to me like the recession, or the world economic crisis could be just the thing we need. Maybe we need to stop consuming so much so that people will stop producing so much, so that we can find something else to do with our lives, like maybe learning how to fix teeth or care for older people.

Obviously I'm missing something. Perhaps there are hospitals full of people who are suffering from the effects of this world economic crisis. But if there are, someone needs to tell me about it; because I see hospitals full of other problems that don't seem related to the crisis at all, and I keep thinking that these are the sort of problems that really need to be addressed. If a good healthy recession would free a few people up from the rat race, then I say, "Bring on the recession!"


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