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Why Are We Lying to Ourselves About Our Catastrophic Economic Meltdown?

Sorry, it's not over yet. This downturn will be severe and long-lasting, and profoundly re-shape our lives, culture, society and the world.
 
 
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Over the last year, the world has received a crash course in real-world capitalism as the follies of Wall Street nearly torpedoed the global economy, which had to be rescued by a trillion-dollar government handout.

Economics, the study of systems of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services, touches virtually facet of our lives from work, recreation and home life to entertainment, culture and social relations.

While there is a wealth of information and some excellent reporters in the business press, the mainstream media has botched virtually every major economic story over the last decade. It helped inflate the Internet bubble. It worshiped at the shrine of the free market and Alan Greenspan. It ignored the evidence of the housing bubble. It was missing in action on the commodities bubble. It celebrated billionaires and speculators even as they manufactured financial weapons of mass destruction. It only sporadically reports on the myriad ways Wall Street games the financial system.

Even now, the corporate media downplay the scope of the disastrous U.S. economy. The current economic downturn, the longest since the Great Depression more than 70 years ago, has been dubbed by many the “Great Recession.”

It's a useful way for journalists to acknowledge the pain of tens of millions of Americans who have lost homes, livelihoods, health care and more, while distinguishing the current misfortune from the Great Depression. But the term also makes the situation seem rosier than it is.

Despite the financial industry’s self-induced catastrophe in 2008, most corporate media reporting still assumes “What’s good for Wall Street is good for America.”

Arun Gupta is an editor of the Indypendent. He's writing a book about the decline of American Empire to be published by Haymarket Books.

 
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