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The incessant, miraculous deferral of the catastrophic rupture, the long-awaited break. Always a bounce. That’s the thing about abstraction – that’s the thing about it’s marvellous ability to keep the story rubbing along. Come on now, try not to think jouissance. Try not to think interminable foreplay, a ten year tease. The rewewed high street shops, the cost of a terraced house, the dip and peak of oil. The end of the story will never arrive.

Today like many days, the futures numbers were in, the European markets had spoken, the crowds had delivered their wisdom, the columnists had typed – braving a bit of hysteria, the ever-reasonable had allowed a soupcon of panic into their columns. The disaster metaphors had circled, abroad and in our skulls. Perfect storm, category 5, smoke rising over lower manhattan, past the window at speed. And then the historical comparisons: Like the 1980s, but bigger. Like the 1930s, only worse.

It will never arrive, the collapse. It will never arrive because they will not let it. That is the thing about abstraction, storytelling. But also, the nationalization of failure, counterfeit, false paper, the spoils of ill-fought battle, the moral hazard. Something else will fail, the currency, the state, the national welfare, but not this.

The EKG is not broken; it’s the patient that’s undead.

Written by adswithoutproducts

September 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm

One Response

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  1. Kind of impressive, innit? In America especially, the manner in which economic news is (or isn’t) processed is a testament to the depth of the parties’ self-indoctrination. The way conservatives cheered the 3.3% bounce in GDP again demostrated how willfully blind to reality they are – hell, they can’t even read into “The Dark Knight” without apparently missing half the plot. Meanwhile, democrats (who mindfully pointed out that unemployment passed 6%, construction was down another 16%, CPI’s headed up, etc.) have become such Pavlovian doomsayers that they’ve already started apologising for losing the election.

    Possibly the only career path that will survive all of this (other than barkeeps) will be marketing & PR: as long as the pretense of sporting free-marketeering can be kept alive, then the collapse won’t have happened. I can already picture Genghis Khan, the blood still caked on his sword, talking ebulliently about his “latest acquisitions” at a press conference.


    September 15, 2008 at 4:44 pm

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