At a workshop in early 2009, I first heard someone (a very smart guy in the science parks world) say, "We're not in a recession, we're in a reset." Since then, I've seen variants of this phrase crop up here and there: Richard Florida titled his latest book The Great Reset. This morning, on Nils Gilman's blog, I came across this bit about David Harvey's current work on the crisis:
Whether you buy the Marxist analysis, much less the Marxist prescriptions, you can't deny the centrality of a point Harvey only makes in passing, which is that there's no way we can get out of this crisis the way we did the last time (that is, in the 1970s/80s), namely by re-disciplining labor to rein in costs and supporting aggregate demand by issuing lots of cheap credit. Those byways have been exhausted, and so how (or if) we can get out of this crisis remains radically unknown.
A smart summary– just what you'd expect from a former David Hollinger student.
It strikes me that every group I've worked with in the last couple years has subscribed to the "reset not recession" school, which in retrospect is not at all a surprise. If you mapped where politicians and pundits were on the Reset/Recession scale, I wonder what you'd get? My sense is that most Republicans and Wall Street types are on Recession side: the former have proposed relatively conventional responses to the crisis (cut marginal tax rates again! privatize/"save" Social Security!), and the latter have been lukewarm at best to any proposals that reduce their freedom of action. Advocates of clean energy, sustainability, etc.– the people who followed the back and forth of the Copenhagen conference most avidly, and were most disappointed by its failure– are definitely on the reset side. You could keep going.