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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/13/13

Global Economic Crisis and the Coming/Current Depression

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(Article changed on May 13, 2013 at 14:00)

What follows are samplings from an anthology put together by professor Michel Chossudovsky and writer-researcher Andrew Gavin Marshall.

The complex causes as well as the devastating consequences of our approaching/ongoing economic crisis are carefully scrutinized in this anthology, by way of contributions from economist Michael Hudson, Mike Whitney, Ellen Brown, Peter Dale Scott, Peter Phillips, Fred Magdoff, James Petras, Andrew Gavin Marshall, Michel Chossudovsky and others.

Despite the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives presented within this volume, all of the contributors ultimately come to the same conclusion:   Humanity is entering, or on the verge of entering, the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history.

The editors of this anthology begin by observing that in all major regions of the world, the ongoing economic recession/slump/crisis/depression is deep-seated, and is resulting in:

a) ever more massive unemployment,

b) the collapse of ever more state social programs, and

c) the impoverishment of ever more millions of people.  

Even more worrisome, this virtually worldwide economic crisis is accompanied by a worldwide move toward militarization, a "war without borders," led by the United States of America and its NATO allies.   The conduct of the Pentagon's "long war" seems to be intimately related to this restructuring of the global economy.

The meltdown of financial markets in 2008-2009 was the result of institutionalized fraud and financial manipulation.   The "bank bailouts" were implemented on the instructions of Wall Street, leading to the largest transfer of money/wealth in recorded history, while simultaneously creating insurmountable public indebtedness, on which debt we the taxpayers must annually make exorbitant and crippling interest payments.

With a worldwide deterioration of living standards and plummeting consumer spending, the entire structure of international commodity trade is potentially in jeopardy.   The payments system of money transactions is in disarray.   Following the collapse of employment, the payment of wages is disrupted, which in turn triggers a downturn in expenditures on necessary consumer goods and services.   This dramatic plunge in purchasing power takes its toll on the productive system, resulting in strings of layoffs, plant closures and bankruptcies.   Exacerbated by the freeze on credit, the decline in consumer demand contributes to the demobilization of human and material resources.  --Michel Chossudovsky and Andrew Gavin Marshall

1.  We are at the crossroads of the most serious economic crisis in world history, and this economic crisis has by no means reached its climax.   Rather it is deepening, with the risk of seriously disrupting the structures of international trade and investment.

What is distinct in this particular phase of the crisis is the ability of the financial giants -- through stock market manipulation as well as through their overriding control over credit -- not only to create havoc in the production of goods and services, but also to undermine and destroy large and well established business corporations.

This crisis is far more serious than the Great Depression.   All major sectors of the global economy are affected.   Factories keep closing down.   Assembly lines are coming to a standstill.   Unemployment is rampant.   Wages have collapsed.   Entire populations are being forced into abysmal poverty.   Livelihoods are destroyed.   Public services are being disrupted or privatized.   --Michel Chossudovsky, Chapter I.

2.   Much attention has rightly been paid to the techniques whereby mortgages were packaged together and then sliced and diced and sold to institutional investors around the world.   Outright fraud was most probably involved in many of these financial shenanigans.   The falling home values following the bursting of the housing bubble, and the inability of many sub-prime mortgage holders to continue to make their monthly payments, together with the resulting foreclosures, all combined to break the camel's back, leading to this catastrophic system failure.    --John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff, Chapter II

3.   Among almost all conventional economists, pundits, investment advisors and various and sundry experts and economic historians, there is a common faith that in the long-run, the stock market will recover, the recession will end and the government will withdraw from the economy, giving it freedom to take off.   However, fixed on notions of past cyclical patterns and historical trends, these analysts lose sight of the present realities which have no precedent:  

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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