While we scrutinize the order flow and charts of various complex financial products, the Awl has a poignant reminder that n% market declines will translate into xn jobs lost in the real economy.
Should you panic? The experts say no, but the experts don’t understand just how close you’ve been cutting it lately, how you’ve been keeping so many balls in the air without even considering how you’re going to get away with it should any of them drop, how you spend your evenings drinking yourself into a stupor because it’s the only thing that will silence that insistent, nagging voice in your head that tells you it’s all going to come crashing down and in spite of the promise you once showed and the seemingly bright future ahead of you and the way you’ve always managed to pull through in the past, the world doesn’t work that way anymore…
A market selloff isn’t quite as scary when you have plenty of capital to deploy, a certain measure of autonomy, and the skill to recover financially in a consistent fashion. Periods like the fall of 2008 or the summer of 2011 are terrifying for the other ninety-nine one-hundredths of the populace precisely because they have no capital to deploy, their wages are stagnant or falling, and autonomy is just a word that tax cutters and TED speakers and Kant use to avoid confronting the material conditions of working people.
Notice that fans of fiscal austerity and Austrian economics tend overwhelmingly to be well-capitalized creditors rather than debtors. There is a certain coldness and inhumanity to the gaze that can survey our tottering economic edifice and leer, “Let it all come down.” It is hard enough to hold a society together under ordinary conditions, without all of these little Robespierres of the Right actively courting disaster.