Financialization was never sustainable, and neither was the destructive globalization it enabled.
All the happy-story analogies to past pandemics being mere bumps in the road miss the mark. A popular claim is that the 1918-1919 flu pandemic killed millions but no biggie, the Roaring 20s started the following year. It’s onward and upward, baby, once we toss the masks.
Wrong. Completely, totally, dead wrong. The drivers of the past 75 years of growth– globalization and financialization–are dead, and so is everything that depended on them for “growth”. (Growth is in quotes because once external costs and currency arbitrage are factored in, most of what’s been glorified as “growth” is nothing but losses covered by accounting trickery.)
Here’s what’s poorly understood: globalization and financialization die when they stop expanding. Just as a shark dies if it stops swimming forward, globalization and financialization die once they stop expanding, because their viability depends on expansion.
Globalization and financialization have been losing momentum for years. Under the guise of “opening markets,” globalization has stripmined every economy that can’t print a reserve currency and hollowed out economies globally as only globally competitive sectors survive globalization. The net result is that once vibrant, diversified economies have been reduced to fragile monocultures completely dependent on global flows of capital and spending for their survival.
Tourism is a prime example: every region that has seen its local economy crushed by global arbitrage and corporate hegemonies, leaving global tourism as its sole surviving sector, has been devastated by the drop in tourism, which was always contingent on disposable income and credit expanding forever.
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