I think a lot of the wrongheaded thinking on both sides of the discussion about the “economic crisis” is that people keep calling it a “crisis”. This is a word that’s abused almost as much as the word “tragedy”. A crisis is a short, sharp event or series of events. And when it’s done, things get back to normal. If — as I strongly suspect — the capitalist system is collapsing into a much smaller economic ball (a collapsing star, if you will), then the unemployment numbers and the nosediving housing situation and the freezing of formerly free-flowing credit are nothing more (or less) than the new normal. Perhaps, going forward, 10% + unemployment is going to be normal (it already is in the EU). Perhaps, going forward, those houses that popped in “value” from $500K to 1.5 mil in a few years will stay at their real value (say, $200K)and never regain their former puffed-up “value”. Perhaps, going forward, credit of all kinds will not be freely available to one and all, and the engine of American consumerism — which has always, at its base, been built on the mad flow of credit — will slow down permanently to the more sedate levels we saw when people put things on layaway instead of whipping out their Platinum Card.
Perhaps this is the new normal. Perhaps this is how we live from now on. Perhaps.