Recession

Whatever happened to the 'Great Recession'?

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"Global Economic Recovery Is Growing, Says IMF." This Daily Mail headline was typical of the media's response to signs of economic recovery in August.

Marxists face two dangers when trying to assess the state of the economy. The first is to attempt to shoehorn the facts to fit with a preconceived account of crisis. The second is to simply accept at face value the analysis put forward by economists.

The figures for the second quarter of 2009 do show a low level of growth in Germany and France. Their GDPs (a measure of the total goods and services produced) rose by 0.3 percent. Japan's grew even faster and there are some indications that the US recession is bottoming out. However, the signs of recovery remain weak.

The economy - don't believe the hype over recovery

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Beware talk of "green shoots" in the economy. Even if they prove to be real, job losses will continue to rise for some time to come.

That was the message of a new report on the recession from the TUC. It compares data from the current recession with the 1980s and 1990s and states, "Unemployment increases were far greater in the 1980s than the 1990s, but in both recessions unemployment levels continued rising for at least a year after GDP started to increase and remained above pre-recessionary levels for years to come."

The devil's carousel

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The global car industry has been rocked by the recession, thousands of jobs have gone and many thousands more are threatened. Kevin Devine reports on how bosses' attempts to save their profits will affect the workers on the "devil's carousel".

One of the biggest manufacturing casualties of the economic recession has been the car industry. Worldwide vehicle sales are collapsing and car plants are closing or going onto short-time working. In Britain the latest figures, for April, show that new car registrations fell by 24 percent compared with the same period a year ago, while the British vehicle market as a whole is estimated to have shrunk by almost 29 percent in comparison with 2008.

Leap of faith: The ruling classes' "solution" to the economic crisis

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The media greeted the London G20 Summit as a great success and declared it to be "the day the world came together to fight recession with a plan for economic recovery and reform". Chris Harman looks at what lies behind the hype and the so called solutions put forward

According to Barack Obama the London G20 Summit was "historic" and "a turning point". Did it in fact represent an answer to the deepening crisis?

Who will pay the price for the crisis?

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While politicians clearly have no idea of how to solve the economic crisis unemployment continues to rise across Britain. But where is it having the most impact? Danny Dorling argues that it is the young - "Thatcher's grandchildren" - who will bear the brunt of the recession.

How government reacts to a crisis is revealing. The initial reaction of the British government to the credit crunch was concern for those who initially appeared to have most to lose - those with savings in banks. The reaction was not carefully calculated or well thought out; it was no capitalist conspiracy; it was a reaction replicated around the rich world by exhausted looking finance ministers who knew their advisers were telling them they had no clue as to what would happen next.

Job cuts on the rise

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Unemployment has risen to its highest level since 1997, and is set to continue increasing dramatically in the near future as the recession starts to bite.

According to a report from the Office for National Statistics, the rate of employment fell by 0.4 percent in the quarter from June to September, with a total of 140,000 people being thrown into unemployment. The total number of unemployed now stands at 1.8 million. Tellingly, the number of hours worked over the same period increased by 0.9 million, illustrating that workers are being pushed to work longer hours both as a means of maintaining productivity and of ensuring pay packets can cover the cost of inflation.

How will the economic crisis affect people's lives?

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The collapse of the subprime mortgage market last year which spread to the global banking system is now biting into the real economy and employment, writes Kevin Devine.

Heaven knows it's hard to be upset about merchant bankers losing their jobs, but the so-called "credit crunch" has now turned into a much more serious crisis of the banking system as a whole. Given the banks' centrality to capitalism's market economy, a serious recession is now very much on the cards. Massive exposure to the tottering pyramid of debt associated with the "subprime" mortgage market and other scams means that the banks have pretty much stopped lending to each other and other businesses.

No Time for Misplaced Optimism

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Is the recession coming to an end? Chris Harman is sceptical.

Soon after Greg Dyke took over as head of the BBC he decreed that its coverage had to be much more friendly towards big business. One consequence of this is a second god slot in the 'Today' programme--only the god this time is not called Jehovah or Allah but money. The slot, for those of you who don't get up so early, runs from 6.15am to 6.25am, when it gives way to the lesser god of sport. One message comes blaring through, day after day. There is no need to worry about the economic crisis. It never hit Britain, and if it did it's already over, not just here but in the US as well.

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