A Quote: Blessed are the Whonow?

Money money money money ... money!

“Unhappy with the economic recovery in the United States? Could be worse.

“Specifically, we could be literally any other country in the world that also just went through a major financial crisis.”

Catherine Rampell

‘Tis a fair point.

Seven years after the credit bubble burst, just two of the 12 countries that went through systemic financial meltdowns in 2007 and 2008 have reclaimed enough ground to reach their previous peaks in per-capita GDP: the United States and Germany. And Germany isn’t looking so hot these days, given that it’s teetering on the edge of deflation.

Many of the other countries that also went through “systemic crises” — as categorized by the work of Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff — still have years to go before fully recovering. The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine will likely wait until 2018 before reaching their pre-crisis peaks in per capita GDP, according to the International Monetary Fund. Even countries that didn’t technically experience a systemic crisis when we did (such as China and Japan) appear to be in serious trouble. As the Economist recently put it, the United States is looking increasingly like a “lonely locomotive.”

It is something to bear in mind when we hear people complain about the economy. However, the flipside is pretty straightforward, as well: The gains are all going to the top. The idea that the economy is flying has little visible effect in the daily lives of many workers, though they have jobs and ought to be thankful and all that other stuff that we are supposed to acknowledge in lieu of pointing out that even still many to most workers are existing under conditions of wage stagnation while already being underpaid. That the economy is flying is a great reason for your rent to go up, and, apparently, a terrible reason for your wages to increase.

Still, though, the numbers are there; we cannot blame everything on the government. Some of this we need private-sector executives to answer for.

____________________

Rampell, Catherine. “How the U.S. economy got its mojo back”. The Washington Post. 1 December 2014.

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