Unrelenting Global Economic Crisis: A Doomsday View of 2012
The economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative
by Prof. James Petras
December 25, 2011
The economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative. The almost universal consensus, even among mainstream orthodox economists is pessimistic regarding the world economy. Although, even here, their predictions understate the scope and depth of the crises, there are powerful reasons to believe that beginning in 2012, we are heading toward a steeper decline than what was experienced during the Great Recession of 2008 – 2009. With fewer resources, greater debt and increasing popular resistance to shouldering the burden of saving the capitalist system, the governments cannot bail out the system.
Many of the major institutions and economic relations which were cause and consequence of world and regional capitalist expansion over the past three decades are in the process of disintegration and disarray. The previous economic engines of global expansion, the US and the European Union, have exhausted their potentialities and are in open decline. The new centers of growth, China, India, Brazil, Russia, which for a ‘short decade’ provided a new impetus for world growth have run their course and are de-accelerating rapidly and will continue to do so throughout the new year.
The Collapse of the European Union
Specifically, the crises wracked European Union will break up and the de facto multi-tiered structure will turn into a series of bilateral/multi-lateral trade and investment agreements. Germany , France , the Low and Nordic countries will attempt to weather the downturn. England – namely the City of London, in splendid isolation, will sink into negative growth, its financiers scrambling to find new speculative opportunities among the Gulf petrol-states and other ‘niches’. Eastern and Central Europe, particularly Poland and the Czech Republic , will deepen their ties to Germany but will suffer the consequences of the general decline of world markets. Southern Europe ( Greece , Spain , Portugal and Italy ) will enter into a deep depression as the massive debt payments fueled by savage assaults on wages and social benefits will severely reduce consumer demand.
Depression level unemployment and under-employment running to one-third of the labor force will detonate year-long social conflicts, intensifying into popular uprisings. Eventually a break-up of the European Union is almost inevitable. The euro as a currency of choice will be replaced by or return to national issues accompanied by devaluations and protectionism. Nationalism will be the order of the day. Banks in Germany , France and Switzerland will suffer huge losses on their loans to the South. Major bailouts will become necessary, polarizing German and French societies, between the tax-paying majorities and the bankers. Trade union militancy and rightwing pseudo ‘populism’ (neo-fascism) will intensify the class and national struggles
A depressed, fragmented and polarized Europe will be less likely to join in any Zionist inspired US-Israeli military adventure against Iran (or even Syria ). Crises ridden Europe will oppose Washington ’s confrontationalist approach to Russia and China .
The US : The Recession Returns with a Vengeance