By Ramin Mazaheri – for The Saker Blog
Looking back, why was there such a huge, swift economic collapse after 9/11? Doesn’t it seem to have been totally unjustified?
After all, there was no drastic global reordering, no Armageddon, no World War III. The biggest consequence was the legalisation of the 21st century Western security state, which dwarfs anything the KGB could have waged, but from an economic point of view there was absolutely nothing which justified the enormous economic downturn and its accompanying pessimism.
So what were we worried about? The economic threat caused by Islamic radicalism?
There is not (and has never been) any major threat to the global order/economy from Islamic radicals – there is no such widespread movement, period. Iranian Islamic Socialism is indeed a threat to Western capitalism-imperialism, but only an idiot, racist, Islamophobe and/or general nutcase would equate the two; Iranian Islamic Socialism only asks to be allowed to democratically experiment inside Iran in peace.
So what were we worried about? Quite justifiably, was it the economic fallout to be caused by how terribly neo-imperial Rome (the US) would react?
The US did not launch thermonuclear war in revenge. The response was – by the Pentagon’s satanic standards – only earth-shattering in two spots of the globe: The US occupied a totally poor country with very little tapped oil (but a lot of opium-production potential) – Afghanistan – and they occupied an oil-rich former client which had been decimated by two decades of Western-ordered war and inhuman Western sanctions – Iraq. Bad for Muslims? Of course. Bad for “Capitalism with Western characteristics”? Not hardly. (After all, capitalist-imperialist war is always profitable for the aggressors’ elite.) The subsequent phony “War on Terror” was ultimately bad for the US taxpayer, sure, but who in the US 1% cares about them?
So what were we worried about? The economic threat posed by the entrenchment of an existential fear which would cause people to refuse to get out of bed in the morning? Clearly, I am reaching… because I just can’t think of anything else.
The horrible thing that was supposed to happen simply never happened.
Yet the economy did crater, and everyone is now reading stuff like, “(this latest economic statistic) is the worst since 9/11.” But while the economic downturn was sharp it wasn’t prolonged.
High finance is always ahead of everyone else in understanding macro-economic trends and truths: the rich unlocked their gates in the Hamptons and it took only two months for the Dow Jones to regain its pre-9/11 levels. However, it took crude oil prices a year to regain pre-9/11 levels ($40/barrel) because people were slow to realise that the huge economic depression (sparked by the reduced economic activity which many said 9/11 was certain to provoke) did not materialise.
The only industry which was correctly hurt by 9/11 was insurance (but to hell with them). The downturns in the two other most affected industries – airlines and tourism – were provoked by the false, hysterical idea that the (nonexistent) Islamic radical movement were going to kamikaze more planes/bloody flag-waving Americans would be dropping bombs on beaches and hotels.
Yes, economic sentiment was justifiably a bit pessimistic back then because 9/11 exacerbated the already-in-progress 2001 recession, which had been caused by the totally unjustified Y2K hysteria.
Is anybody identifying a Western trend here yet?
(I mean, besides the West’s comedians? From “America’s Finest News Source”, The Onion: Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What’s Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions)
But the coronavirus… this time it’s different Ramin
Indeed, in the sense that the entire world has gone hysterical and not just the evangelist, paranoid Americans.
I feel totally justified to call it “corona hysteria” because nobody can convince me that corona is as very terrible as it seems. The data is simply not there. It might be, but as of the writing of this article nobody can claim for certain that it is there.
In this very good article from The Spectator – How deadly is the coronavirus? It’s still far from clear: There is room for different interpretations of the data – which was penned by a recently-retired Professor of Pathology and NHS (UK) consultant pathologist. He notes some very basic logic concepts are being ignored even though the ultimate policy question is, “How truly lethal is this virus?”
- Health care and science are fields fundamentally characterised by doubt rather than certainty, contrary to what doctors on TV are insisting.
- Testing regimes based in hospitals will always overestimate virulence: they are dealing only with the worst cases, not with the masses of asymptomatic cases of infection.
- Most crucially, many are inflating the death tolls because the vast majority of respiratory deaths in the UK were not historically recorded as being caused by the flu, but recorded as bronchopneumonia, pneumonia, old age or a similar designation… but now the deaths are being being listed as due to Covid-19.
- The obvious proof that we lack solid data, on which we must base policy decisions, is evidenced by the wide range of reported national mortality rates: 7% for Spain, 4% for France, 1% for the US. The author says the best example nation we could look at is Iceland: mortality is 0.3%, which is slightly above the normal 0.1% for flu but definitely not a repeat of the Spanish Flu of 1918.
- Rushed science is bad science. However, the MSM is demanding “science now”.
- The average age of death in Italy is 79, compared with an average Italian life expectancy of 83. Am I heartless to report this? No, because I am not advocating ending self-responsibility measures for the vulnerable and the possibly infected.
The most interesting country to watch is Sweden (and Mexico and Brazil), who alone in Europe have not locked down. They haven’t done absolutely nothing, but their corona policy is relying on self-responsibility. Compare the treatment of Sweden from the non-MSM financial website ZeroHedge with the panic-inducing, hysterical treatment by fake-leftist UK media The Guardian. Sadly, the latter gets exponentially more eyeballs than an indispensable site like ZeroHedge.
So I just won’t be browbeaten into agreeing that corona is so exceptionally deadly – that might be proven one day, but anybody who says it has already been proven is pushing bad, unproven science. Corona sceptics are falsely attacked by those rushing to judgement, but the ex-doc/prof defends our scepticism quite capably:
‘The moral debate is not lives vs money. It is lives vs lives.’
Yes, because bad economics kills. Austerity kills. Neoliberalism kills. So I’ll stick with my analysis: there is an economic overreaction going on with corona similar to what happened after Y2K and the attacks on 9/11. However, the corona overreaction is way, way, WAY more shocking:
“The immediate impact of the 9/11 attack was to reduce (in the US) real GDP growth in 2001 by 0.5%, and to increase the unemployment rate by 0.11% (reduce employment by 598,000 jobs.)” (found here)
Goldman Sachs, which is more concerned about a high finance recovery than a real economy recovery, just optimistically estimated (but pessimistically when compared with their previous estimate) a jobless rate topping out at 15% and GDP sagging by a record 34% in the second quarter, followed by only a 19% rebound in the third quarter.
Such projections are… incomprehensibly bad. But especially so because we don’t even know how deadly corona truly is. The idea that such a self-induced downturn isn’t going to cause huge amounts of death, poverty and even more sickness is not just wilfully naive but dangerously wrong.
Have you never heard the expression: We’re all just 9 meals from murder? Surely, LOL, this cynical saying is especially true for people who don’t do Ramadan (which begins April 23!).
Again, socialist-inspired countries like China, Iran and Cuba control the levers of their economies for the benefit of their masses and will pull those levers – but India? The perma-stagnant Eurozone? The dog-eat-dog US? Think Iran isn’t used to war, a command economy, and unnatural impositions imposed by ruthless stifling (sanctioning) forces? I raise my scepticism because because bad economics kills, and the West especially is full of terrible economics which attack their lower classes.
“But Ramin, you are the only open Islamic Socialist I have ever heard of and, what’s worse, you work for the Iranian government. Nobody was listening to you before – because you espouse these undoubtedly nutty ideologies – and certainly nobody is listening to you now. ”
Tell me something I don’t know!
Doesn’t make me wrong, though. Doesn’t mean I should be writing human interest reports about how to cope with corona-boredom instead of writing this article.
I am drawing attention to the fact that the West – despite all their wealth, and despite their constant proclamations of being the self-appointed defenders of human rights – does not have the socialist-inspired, lower class-protecting economic safeguards to take these drastic shutdown measures. Furthermore, while The Washington Post is now running horse-is-out-of-the-barn articles such as The coronavirus crisis is exposing how the economy is not as strong as it seemed, for years I have repeatedly been among the relatively few journalists reporting about how the Western economy is even more over-leveraged in 2020 than during the 2008 crisis, which was caused by over-leveraging, so… there’s that to deal with, too.
I don’t mean to stoke economic hysteria – all the West and their client state admirers have to do is implement socialist-style measure after socialist-style measure over the next few months, and then my worries here will have proven to be unfounded.
A radical 180 from TINA – There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism)? It’s not an impossibility… technically.
The next few months will certainly demand it.
If we could add the West’s false Y2K hysteria to their false 9/11 hysteria and then multiply it by the 2008 economic crisis, then we can get start to imagine what the West is stampeding themselves towards economically.
Socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and Cuba should do what they have always done – hold on tight. The West’s corona hysteria will only push them more in favor of the big-government, socialist-inspired policies they have already (thankfully) adopted, anyway. That process may take years, when it needs to take mere months.
Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.