The markets are going up. Is this the first sign of our being in a short, sharp 'V' shaped recession, or is it just a 'sucker's rally' as Larry Elliot would have it?
I haven't got a clue. Or at least I don't pretend to be able to call the markets. But I do accept that the recession will end at some point: this , I agree, is not the final crisis of capitalism. Much, I suspect, will depend on the the ability of the G20 to refashion a new set of global trading relationships.(I'm not holding my breathe, but you never know...)
But even if that works it is important to remember that the recession moves at different speeds for different people. Re-stabilised markets are not the same thing as a re-stabilised economy and society. The unlikely coupling of Gary Younge and Max Hastings both make that point in their different ways in the Guardian this morning. Younge looks forward to a resurgence of the Left as the magic of invincibility falls away from the financial Masters of the Universe. Hastings quietly notes the similarity of the current period to that of the phoney war of 1939 and early 1940. As yet, the recession has only hit a minority. Whoever is in power after the next election will govern at a time when it hits the majority. This is not necessarily a happy prospect for the Tories. Elliot puts this into perspective:
"Normally, Alistair Darling would be preparing a budget next month of such austerity that it would put Sir Stafford Cripps to shame. But the chancellor is considering an expansionary package that will lead to a further increase in the budget deficit. On some estimates, the Treasury may need to borrow £180bn next year to balance the books – 12% of GDP and unprecedented in peacetime (and probably wartime, for that matter)."
Cuts are coming. Big time. 2010: the year of living dangerously.
But I still remain to be convinced our barely functioning labour movement - well, barely functioning by the standards of the 1970s, anyway - is going to be the only or even main vehicle via which resistance raises its head. David Harvey, the doyen of Marxist theorists of neo-liberalism, seems to be saying something similar here. But his alternative, or supplementary, vectors of resistance seem cloudy and ill-defined.
As are mine, I must admit.