Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recess Good, Recession Bad

It seems to me that "recess" and "recession" are just variations on the same theme, and we'd be a lot better off if we looked at them that way. When we were at school, recess was a good thing, a welcome thing--it was a break between periods of productivity and I'm not sure we'd have made it through the year without them. So maybe, instead of causing panic in the streets, we should have regularly scheduled recessions of pre-determined length where obscenely overpriced real estate takes a reality break, stocks that accelerate on nothing but a feeding frenzy get a breather and the economy resets to thrive another day. We'd rest, hit the monkey bars, relax and then a bell would ring and capitalism could go back to its desk.

That can't happen, of course, but I think I'd prefer it to the recession-heavy force feeding shoved down our throats by financial chicken littles whose only real concern is that the sky isn't falling fast enough. Doesn't it seem like recession, in many ways, is a self-fulfilling prophecy? I mean, if you tell people they should worry about their jobs and their investments, they stop spending and hold on to their money--the very things we collectively shouldn't do if we really wanted to evade a recession. Does that make any sense?

At least, if we called it recess, we'd know when it was coming and when it was going to be over. Sure, you might get pelted with dodgeballs, but at least you know it's only a matter of time until the bell is going to ring and the hurting stops.

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