We're Overdue For A Sell-Everything/No-Fed-Rescue Recession

We're way overdue for a sell-everything recession, one that the Fed will only make worse by pursuing its usual policies of lowering interest rates and goosing easy money.

As I noted last week, central banks, like generals, always fight the last war--until the war is lost. The global economy is careening into recession (call it a "slowdown" if you are employed by the Corporate-State Media), and while we don't yet know just how deep and wide this recession will be, we can make an educated guess that it won't be a repeat of any of the previous five recessions: 1973-74, 1981-82, 1990-91, 2001-02 or 2008-09.

Recessions triggered by energy or financial crises tend to be short and shallow as the crisis soon eases; recessions caused by structural imbalances tend to be enduringly brutal. Many recessions are structural, but the triggering event is a short-term crisis.

Some recessions savage specific sectors but leave most of the economy relatively unscathed. Others disrupt virtually everything, even the generally impervious-to-recession government sector.

Let's run down the general outlines of the previous five recessions. If you've lived long enough, you've experienced the suffering firsthand. Younger readers will have difficulty relating firsthand, but understanding the dynamics is the goal here, and so direct experience is a bonus, not an essential.

1973-74: the Oil Shock to the U.S. economy as OPEC raised prices and punished the U.S. for supporting Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur war created havoc--long lines at gas stations and a sharp downturn (a.k.a. recession). Though the economy supposedly recovered statistically in 1975, the structural issues that were laid bare by the recession continued eroding the economy for the next six years.

The U.S. industrial base had become accustomed to getting away with rising prices and stagnant quality. The rise of competing industrial nations such as Germany and Japan (and the resulting imbalance in trade flows that undermined the U.S. dollar's gold-backed status) required a massive reset of America's financial and industrial sectors.

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Disclosures: None.

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