Dow Jones Plunge Reveals a Morally Sick System

Time to ‘fess up: I don’t understand economics. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that I’m not supposed to understand it either. As with some weird cult, maybe economic “laws” are only revealed to initiates. Or maybe no one really understands economics; it’s just some are better at pretending they do.

Either way, today’s mystifying Guardian story about dramatic falls in the Dow Jones seems to be saying that the plunges happened because the global economy is doing too well. All very paradoxical.

But one paragraph conveys a nugget of information that even I can understand:

The plunge, initially triggered by fears that strong US employment numbers would lead to wage demands and rising inflation, represents the first two-day drop of 1,000 points or greater for the Dow since August 2015.

I read that as meaning: turbo-charged neoliberalism is now so conditioned to ignore any demands from us – the people who make things, aka workers – that even our employment is a threat.

In short, the global economic elite needs a significant proportion of us unemployed, or part of the precariat, to keep all of us weak. That way, the system can continue on its relentless path to making us even more exploitable. If too many of us start working, the global economic system adjusts: that is, it starts laying us off again.

That sounds pretty sick to me. And unsustainable.

But then again, what do I know about economics?

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan's website.