The Slovenia Times

Recession for Dummies



e it and being inhumanly nice to each others. The bitter part was that you just couldn't make small talk with them any more. They only babbled their phrases and sayings they learnt from their gurus in order to get more people into their network of dreams. Furthermore, they were not at all lonely or intellectually underfed people. Often, they were quite the opposite.

For some of us, the "immune," it was an awkward living experiment in mass psychology. It seemed as if yet another remake of The Body Snatchers was happening in front of our eyes. These marketing network junkies tend to become very annoying too - it was not enough just to say them "no thanks, this is not for me" and continue chatting about some movie you recently saw. Clearly, they had been indoctrinated with the urge for persistent persuasion. And you just couldn't break them by explaining that something might not totally function in their brave new world, where six billion people would be selling toothpaste to each other, and consequently getting wealthy enough so each could own a boat and a mountain lodge.

Not long after this supernatural phenomenon occurred, The Slovenia Times was published for the first time. That was exactly six years ago. It began in garage, with big expectations and great prospects. The economy was booming. Foreigners, both tourists and businessmen, began to acknowledge our potential. We were entering the EU and NATO. The only gap between the heaven and Slovenia was seemingly caused by a lack of liberal thinking, compounded with tight legislation, slow privatisation and red tape.

The capital market was blooming and personal fortune was measured in investments. Saving in banks was out, replaced by investing in funds - that was the idea. Everyone was invited to become a capitalist. "Invest and let it grow..." It seemed unbelievable how easily we had disposed of the idea that added value can only be created through labour, which has poisoned our minds for decades.

Today, investments are in retreat. Neo-liberals, yesterday's heroes, whom everyone was worshipping as holding the key to the all progress, have lost all authority in a matter of months. Hopeful small investors found much of their savings gone and figured they would be better off if they stuck their cash into the back of their sock drawer.

The manic network marketing fanatics mentioned turned out to be just an extreme sect of the all-embracing religion of global consumer capitalist, whose god abandoned it and whose prophets turned out to be false. In fact, for a few years we all believed that six billion people can only invest their earnings and in time we would all be watching sunsets on our own boats or in mountain lodges; just to remind us of that part of our nature that enjoys being seduced.

Then a cataclysm came. We know the story. Instead of watching our investments grow, we are left with the delight of watching our tycoons' big fat bodies rot. The trust for our wealth is now being handed back to the state. Everyone is curious what the new doctrines will bring and, moreover, what is to become of our society. Curious, but very fearful too. The concern derives from a great 20th century formula: financial crisis creates popular unrest, which is then channelled to the populism of hatred and totalitarian ideas, ultimately leading to major conflicts. You can draw parallels wherever and whenever you want, and despite its sounding like a parody of paranoid thinking, it leaves a bitter taste. Nevertheless, even not so lonely and intellectually underfed people can quickly became prey to weird ideas. Yet, the good news is that history, as well as nature, acts in chaotic, unpredictable ways and that no major shakeup in the history as we know it was not in any way predicted. Neither was this recession.


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