Although our last blog stressed that there is nothing in the
recession that is worth killing oneself over, that has to be balanced by saying
that neither should be effects of the recession be trivialised.
One would think that was pretty obvious, but there have been
a number of contrary opinions recently: these come from sources ranging from
well-meaning clerics preaching against materialism, through environmentalists
and unreconstructed Marxists using the crisis to advance their political
agenda, to newspaper editors looking for fresh angles on a familiar story.
All have tried to suggest that the recession is somehow a
blessing in disguise.
If so, it is a very good disguise.
Here are some of the things that have been said in defence
of the recession – and why they are wrong.
1 “We needed a reality check because our
culture had become too obsessed with money.” This may very well be true,
but recession is not the cure: there is nothing like poverty and the threat of
poverty to get people thinking about money more than ever.
recession will help the environment.” Rubbish! What we are in fact seeing
is the environment taking second place to immediate economic needs in the
decisions of both governments and families with tighter budgets.
can be good for the economy because it wipes out inefficient businesses.” Unpleasant
as this sounds, a slight downturn every few years probably serves a necessary
purpose – indeed, part of our present problem is that the downturn has been
delayed too long and, as a result, is now much bigger than it need have been,
so that it will destroy healthy businesses along with the unfit ones.
4 “People will have the opportunity to spend
more time with their families and do other things they always wanted to do.” This
is a positively insulting thing to say to someone who has just lost his
business: there is the world of difference between making a positive choice to
do something and being forced to do it.
5 “This is a golden opportunity to reorganise
our whole economy.” True, but those in power have no idea how, and such
reorganising as has been done, or proposed, appears to be in completely the