Connecting the Dots on Disaster
When it comes to the Murdoch scandal, where everyone’s having such a rollicking good time, it hasn't been particularly hard for reporters, pundits, and commentators to connect a few dots, even across an ocean. Yes, you can find actual experts claiming in print and online that what’s happening to Murdoch & Co. in England might affect the American part of his imperial media conglomerate, and that it’s even possible the whole structure of his world could be on a collision course with itself and hell.
When it comes to something larger and far less enjoyable though, like the global economy, you would be hard-pressed to find a similar connecting of the dots. China’s economy soars on one side of the planet (though with a multitude of half-hidden problems), while that country continues to outpace all others when it comes to holding U.S. debt. On the other side of the same planet, from Greece and Ireland to Spain and Italy, Europe shudders and fears run wild. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the president and Congress have headed the economy merrily for the nearest cliff, while money is lacking even to keep court systems running in some parts of the country.
On all of this there is much reporting, much opining, many fears expressed, numerous teeth gnashed. Yet even when such pieces sit near each other on the same page or follow each other on the TV news, they are, with rare exceptions, treated as if they were remarkably separate problems, remarkably separate crises. And those long-distant days of the 1990s, when it was said everywhere that “globalization” was weaving our world into a single, vast economic mechanism, are now mere memory pieces.
And yet, what goes up...
Don’t even say it! Call it blindness, denial, what you will, but economically speaking, dots everywhere are almost religiously not connected, and so the thought that the global system itself might fail (as systems sometimes do) never quite manages to arise. Thank heavens, then, for Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums (and other books too numerous to mention), a man who has never seen a set of dots he didn’t care to connect, and so makes the effort to connect the U.S., European, and Chinese economic crises (or potential ones) in a new piece, “Crash Club,” in a way that leaves us all hell-bent for disaster. It says something about our world, though, that such a piece has to originate at a relatively marginal website like TomDispatch.
© 2011 TomDispatch.com