What we are seeing in the economy is something not seen in this country since the 1930's -- the time of the Great Depression.
If we think of the companies shedding jobs like trees shedding leaves, they are so numerous that it may prove easier to name companies that haven't -- (if we could find any!)
In January alone, some 1/2 million workers got pink slips.
And this economic crisis is global. Europe is locked in a financial vise, and big countries, like England and France, have announced ambitious stimulus packages. England has openly nationalized prominent banks facing default. Iceland has, for all intents and purposes, declared bankruptcy -- with not just banks, but government itself is failing.
And while China, the site of the world's most robust economy is still growing, its rate of growth has fallen so fast that some 20 million people -- 20 million! -- have lost their jobs, a direct result of the U.S. economic recession.
Over a year ago, American economist Nouriel Roubini, speaking at a meeting in Davos, Switzerland, said the U.S. economy looked "like an emerging market."
Roubini predicted that the U.S. would enter a recession which would last at least a year. he added, "The debate is not whether we're going to have a soft or hard landing. The question is only how hard the hard landing will be." *
A Chinese economist echoed that sentiment. Yu Yongding, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences described the Chinese economy as at "quite a delicate stage." The problem, he concluded, was the "very bad situation" in the U.S.
Globalization was sold as the next best thing to the industrial age, when Americans would live in the warm glow of the information age, lit by computer screens, and the rest of the world would do scut work.
How's that working out, as the economy crumbles?
--(c) '09 maj
[*Source: Landler, Mark, "U.S. Policies Evoke Scorn at Davos: Fed Caved In to the Markets (or Maybe It Dawdled), Critics Say, New York Times, Thurs., Jan. 24, 2008, p. C9.]
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