Various economies are facing the long expected end of growth. While the potential consequences are dominated by fear, various people look for different ways out – some more elegant than others.
Whereas most of us have benefited from the strength of capitalism, we are now all siting in the boat that will sooner or later come to a halt. Ignoring threats such as climate change and increasing levels of conflicts, the only question that seems to govern current political debates is ‘where and how abrupt will growth stop?’ No one can tell, yet all are looking for the best model to avoid exactly that. The USA as the biggest economy has always been a good example for economic success and it seems that the same old concept is still working well today: ignoring the problems and printing ever new money has helped to maintain the good image, which makes the international community buying greenbacks, which in turn keeps the engine going. No need to worry about the ever growing inequality either: since Bill Gates’ voice counts more than those of the Pope, American interests should still be protected long after the end of capitalism, even after the end of this planet.
Another approach has been elaborated by the new left-wing government in Greece, one of special interest to all anti-capitalists, since many of us have been looking for alternatives for quite a while. Unfortunately, the model of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is as poor as Greek culture has ever been: macho behavior, macho mind, macho culture. The outcome: treason instead of working is considered a way out of the Greek impasse.
At least we have comparison for that approach: Vietnam, historically an extremely rich country, has become a model example of how treason can bring economic benefits. Thanks to the international community who pumps in millions of dollars in development aid while exploiting abundant natural resources at almost no cost, a few people benefit at the expense of the peoples. Living in Vietnam I observe that each new project, new rule or new order is only made for some officials to fill their pockets with ever bigger bills. No innovation, no good intentions, no environmental benefits. The saddest part is that the international community is only contributing to the fraud. Sourcing cheap products made at the cost of ‘slave wages’ and huge environmental costs while paying reparation in form of big programs that only favor the already rich make things worse than they were before. On the long-run it will prove not to be the right recipe either, even if high growth rates help to cover up the mess.
Technology and knowledge transfer have been big rhetoric in most international agreements. An innovative approach has now been chosen by the Swiss government who took the Vietnamese model to pop up its own economy. The Swiss —long been famous for finding the right words and manipulating statistics in the right way— inflated their bureaucracy by 60% in the last two decades, the increase in the last ten years contributing a third to the total growth in employment! With this approach Switzerland heads directly towards the Greek model, only without the option to later call for reparation payments, how absurd they might be.
It thus seems that the right model to address fears of deflation have not really been found yet. Maybe denial, as heard above might be the best of all options: Florida seems to lead the way here.
Imagine that ‘climate change’ doesn’t exist. Imagine that ‘inequality’ doesn’t exist. Imagine that ‘poverty’ doesn’t exist. Marx was wrong! Capitalism is not a monster that is eating up resources. Capitalism is a beautiful creator. The resources are all still there. Eve never even considered touching the apple, it’s still there. Even MH370 is still there; waiting at Kuala Lumpur airport to take off for the next journey. What a wonderful world we live in!
 I guess all you reading my blog have 😉
 E.g. The small but important difference between ‘Steuerbetrug’ (tax fraud) and ‘Steuerhinterziehung’ (non-declaration of taxable income/assets) which makes a legal difference, although the economic intention and outcome of both are identical.
 E.g. Unemployment rates have historically looked low in Switzerland due to i) unemployed worker no longer appearing as ‘unemployed’ when they become a case for ‘social service’ after 400 days of unemployment ii) women who stop working after giving birth and caring for their children for some years and later not being able to re-enter the labor market, not being consider as ‘unemployed’