Our economy is in tatters, in the United States in general, and in Oregon specificlly.
What is an economy? The word economy comes from the Greek oikos – house, and nemein – to manage. At its most basic, economy means managing the house. “Keeping your house in order”, if you will – making sure that the needs and obligations of you and your household are met: clean air, pure water, nutritious food, adequate clothing, reasonable health, safe shelter, rewarding companionship and meaningful occupation.
These are true wealth – not money. Money is only worthwhile to the extent that it can provide true wealth – a handy tool to make barter easier, but not wealth in and of itself.
But except for some aspects of food costs, home sales and unemployment numbers, “economic reports” rarely deal with these matters. Economic reports focus on “the financial markets” i.e. investments in stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc., import and export numbers, and foreign affairs to the extent that they impact investors.
Economists focus on investments, not people: on earning money without producing anything, without actually producing wealth. In fact, protecting or producing real wealth, in particular clean air, pure water, nutritious food, and reasonable health, are considered drags on the economy.
Rewarding companionship and meaningful occupation aren’t even on the radar.
Even a casual observer can see that “The Economy” as we measure it, discuss it, theorize about and manage it, has little relationship to most people’s households.
Hence, it is possible to have “a jobless recovery.” We have an economic “recovery” despite about a fifth of the population’s inability to earn a living. We have an economic “recovery” where we do not produce goods, but must continue to consume them, and our ability to do even that is shrinking.
Our economic gurus declare an economic recovery based not on how well we “keep our house in order”, but on how securities prices reflect the wealthy’s ability to run up the prices of investment instruments. The reality of most people’s lives is just clutter to the experts, and so it is left out of the equation.
These same experts are the ones who say we are experiencing a “jobless recovery.” An economic recovery without jobs is a concept only those so wealthy they do not produce any wealth could even imagine. This explains why the only people who think things are fine are the very wealthy, for whom things actually are fine, for the moment, because the citizenry has been stuck with the bill for the wealthy’s failed gamble on the imaginary.
How’s that jobless recovery working for you?
What do you think?