‘Crisis’ has been one of the most-used words in the English language – if not the most used – in the five years from 2008 to the time of writing this book in 2013. Ever since the financial crash of 2008 – and of course the outbreak of the so-called ‘euro crisis’ in 2010 – ‘the crisis’ has been blamed for an almost endless variety of social and economic ills: unemployment, poverty, recession, public debt, political instability, social strife and in more recent years, austerity.
In this age of Tweet-like, lightning-fast, bite-sized information, phrases like ‘the crisis eases up’ or ‘the crisis intensifies’ – rather than, say, the more accurate but also more cumbersome ‘policy makers fail to develop adequate tools to restore the flow of credit to private businesses and boost employment’ – have become commonplace. This is perhaps inevitable. In the months and years following the crash, though, this involuntary reification, or personification, of ‘the crisis’ ended up lending to it an almost god-like will of its own, and a force majeure-like sense of inevitability. The idea that the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent first World recession, albeit triggered by the greediness of a few Wall Street bankers, actually reflected a deeper structural – economic, ecological, cultural, even spiritual – and thus inevitable – crisis, slowly sank into our collective consciousness.