I am currently writing a book about how austerity became the policy response to the crisis. One of the questions I struggle with in writing this book is how simple can you make the story without it becoming a children’s fable. In order to find out, I decided to write it up as a children’s fable (See below). I think it shows that when you strip it down to its essentials, it’s a pretty simple story, even if it’s a rather GRIMM (sic) tale.
The Global Crisis as a (Brothers) Grimm Story
Once upon a time in the land of US, the ‘job creators’ decided to send as many of the jobs they created as possible to THEM. THEM would make cheaper stuff to send back to US to buy, so more profits and cheaper stuff for US. Everyone wins! Yippee! So THEM made lots of stuff for US, and US sent THEM lots of cash to pay for the stuff they made.
But rather than spend the cash US sent THEM, THEM decided to give it back to US so US could buy even more stuff from THEM. THEM made even more money doing so, and sent it back to US!
But there was a problem in this magical world. It presumed that the people of US would always have enough money to buy stuff from THEM, because someone else would always pay the people of US enough wages to buy the stuff from THEM. But having sent all the good jobs to THEM, there was no money left in US to buy stuff from THEM, or anyone else.
Meanwhile, in another far off land called EURO, people who laughed at what was going on in the land of US bought lots of bits of paper from some PIGS. This gave the PIGS lots of money to buy stuff from EURO. EURO took that money and gave it back to the PIGS, just like THEM gave it back to US. And so long as the PIGS kept paying EURO with the money EURO had given them, all was well, and as so long as THEM gave it back to US, all was well…But all was not well.
It turned out that one of the PIGS had been especially greedy and now its bits of paper were worthless. EURO wondered if all the other bits of paper were worthless too? Now all the people who were happy because they bought bits of paper from the PIGS were now sad. And that meant they were sad with EURO too.
EURO didn’t like this and got very angry. Euro blamed the PIGS for being fat and greedy. EURO told the PIGS to stop spending, forgetting entirely that what PIGS bought was all the stuff EURO made with the money EURO had given them. Silly EURO! And now EURO wanted everyone else to pay for their mistake…silly, silly Euro.
But a silly EURO makes everyone sad, because if EURO can’t sort this mess out it will be bad for US. It will make US even poorer than the 46 million of US who are really very poor thanks in part to their jobs being sent to THEM. And for THEM this is bad news too since US will be unable to buy more stuff from THEM! Oh what are we to do?
So to make everything better THEM has decided to give EURO the money they made from US to bail EURO out, in exchange for the chance to wipe out all EURO’s manufacturing industries. That way THEM can worry less about US, since they will make more money from EURO, and THEM can send that money back to US, so that US can buy more goods from THEM. The magic circle is then complete. And in the end they all died, except the Swedes and the Swiss, who lived happily ever after, despite paying an awful lot of taxes. THE END.