Michael Lind says in Salon that this is our current state of affairs and it ain’t going anywhere:
If a neologism could capture the national and global politics of our time, in the way that “stagflation” captured the combination of stagnation and inflation in the economy of the 1970s, I would propose “turboparalysis” for the combination of vigorous and dramatic motion with the absence of steady movement in any particular direction. At the level of the nation-state and the world as a whole, wheels are spinning furiously and engines are being gunned, to no effect.
Optimists are an endangered species, now that it appears that we are at best in the end of the beginning of a prolonged crisis of the world economy, not the beginning of the end. Hopes that the global financial crash of 2008 would be followed by a deep recession and then a sharp recovery have faded. Coordinated stimulus programs by major countries in the early stages of the crisis probably helped to limit the damage, but they did not produce a recovery. The alternatives — beggar-thy-neighbor trade policies and budgetary austerity — can only make things worse in the short run.
Nearly one in six Americans is now on food stamps, so American consumers are not going to lead the world out of recession any time soon. The long agony of the eurozone may not produce the imminent apocalypse that many fear, but even if Europe muddles through it is unlikely to serve as an engine of global growth that could drag the world out of the ditch. And the possible implosion of China’s own internal asset bubble could punch another hole in the foundering canoe of the world economy.
On the left the Occupy movement is also an antinomian movement of protest against entrenched and corrupt elites, not a traditional reform movement with achievable goals and a plausible plan. If, as seems likely, there are years of economic stagnation and crisis ahead, then we may see a series of eruptions like the Tea Party and Occupy movements, most or all of which will briefly emerge, energize one or another party for an election cycle or two, and fade away.