(openDemocracy) The myth of American recovery

trapped (Medium)By conceding that growing inequality is the main challenge facing the US, President Barack Obama finally admitted last week that the much lauded “recovery” is a myth.

In recent months, not a single day has gone by without reports of America’s impressive bounce-back and strong GDP growth. Financial experts and TV hosts have been very eager to emphasize surging stock market indexes and what good this brings to the world’s largest economy. Talk show guests have been underlining the strength of US economic crisis management, while pointing their fingers at Europeans who are just muddling through. More often than not, leading European voices appeared to agree.

Who would blame them? The US annualized GDP growth has reached 2.8% in this year’s third quarter – quite impressive when compared with the comatose 0.1% registered by the Eurozone. On the market front, Twitter’s IPO in November was a success even to the casual observer: at the end of the first trading day the company’s valuation peaked at $30 billion. Buyers of its stocks could cash as much as 70% in profit if they sold just 24 hours later. So, if the economy is growing and the stock market is booming, surely the recovery must be unquestionably here!

Or is it? What does recovery stand for? Should we cheer GDP growth and stock market performance, or should we rather look at household earnings, job quality and levels of poverty? What does really count, abstract statistics or people’s incomes, jobs?…

Read the rest of the piece on openDemocracy.

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