So you want to wreck an economy and cause a recession? Well fair enough. It’s good to have a dream.
But wrecking an economy can take years, so if that’s really your goal you might have to resign yourself to working as part of a team and chiselling away at a small area at a time, setting things up so that when conditions are right, the economy you have in your sights will be ready to collapse in a cloud of dust. Fortunately you will always have lots of people ready and willing to help in any project of economic ruin, and we will get to the question of allies later.
Of course you won’t openly declare that you want to wreck an economy. That’s understandable, because far more people are hurt than helped by the process. It’s usually much smarter to boldly declare that you are trying to boost the target economy as you strive in actuality to bring it tumbling down.
Let’s face it: the people who achieve the best results in economic destruction are usually not as clear-sighted as you. Mostly they are just bashing away, working for what they see as their own self-interest, with the ruin of the structure in which they live and work just a by-product of their actions. When you get serious about creating economic ruin, these folk will be among your greatest allies.
Finding the perfect victim
For now, let’s imagine you have done the ground-work. Perhaps you have been elected to the government of some nation that boasts a healthy economy. You will have hoped to find the perfect victim: a country with a diverse range of industries and enterprises, from small to very large, mostly owned and operated by citizens of that country. A healthy victim economy will have few people unemployed. They will be well-paid by the standards of their country, so they will be able to afford the basics of shelter, food, health and education without much difficulty. Their pay-packets will be recycled through the domestic economy, paying for goods and services that in turn employ their fellow citizens. Profits from locally-owned businesses will also be recycled through the domestic economy, stimulating growth and creating surplus wealth that can be used to provide lifestyle enhancing benefits for the nation’s population.
Let’s imagine that, before your election, this theoretical nation upon which you are about to go to work had a series of governments that appeared to believe, generally, that their role was to monitor and regulate, ensuring a satisfactory level of law and order, of education and health, and making sure that citizens – both corporate and individual – were behaving decently to one another. Those past governments had, generally, collected taxes fairly from all sections of society and ensured those taxes were spent fairly for the benefit of all.
We must admit such a perfect victim will be hard to find these days, since it seems many people who share your ambition to cause wreckage and ruin have already been hard at work in most parts of the world. For the sake of the exercise, however imagine you have found just such a victim and have positioned yourself – with the necessary allies – and are about to begin your work.
It will be important to keep in mind the key elements of your task. Luckily, the basics are easily understood and there are many past examples of highly successful economic sabotage you will be able to study and emulate as you proceed.
Your corporate and media allies will always help
Essentially your task will be to hollow out the capacity of the victim nation’s economy. You will do this by reducing competition and diversity. You will have many allies in these goals. Huge foreign corporations will be queuing to buy your nation’s enterprises and you should make this as easy as you can for them. In return they will drastically cut employment, stripping paypackets and demand out of the domestic economy. At first this may seem hardly noticeable, but don’t despair. Every takeover creates knock-on effects, multiplying the ultimate impact across the board and speeding your goal of economic ruin. These takeovers will naturally shift profits out of your country – often to tax havens. This is a double-whammy for you, since at the same time as the profits leave your victim country your tax collections will tumble. Think about it: fewer people employed means fewer people buying fewer goods and services and fewer people paying income tax. Profit-offshoring means cash and spending ripped out of the victim country and even more taxes lost. Win, win, win – for your ultimate goal of economic ruin.
Even better, the foreign corporate raiders will almost certainly shift portions of their victim enterprises to countries with low wages and low environmental protections. Your goal of ruin will benefit from the loss of skills in your victim country, and the big corporations will demand that you dismantle regulations that protect working conditions and the environment, arguing that this will help your country compete. You will already know this is a lie, designed only to shift the fruit of the labour of the hapless citizens of your chosen victim country into the pockets of the corporations and their ultimate financiers. But that’s fine: it’s all part of the project.
Luckily, the corporations that are your allies in economic demolition probably already own the news media in your chosen victim country. So, as long as you help them strip-mine wealth from your country, the media will portray you – day in and day out – as a champion of economic commonsense and wisdom. The media will explain that this is all normal, and in fact it is the only way to run a country. Anybody who tries to argue against your policies will be lampooned and attacked ferociously in the media until they crumple. From time to time you will meet the owners of the media over dinner and you will laugh and laugh and laugh at how well the project is coming along.
How to demolish demand
One of your major jobs, as a political operator determined to wreck an economy as thoroughly as possible, will be to demolish demand. This sounds hard but it isn’t. All you have to do is strip purchasing power from the citizens of the victim economy. You can do this in many ways. Since you have control of government spending you can target purchasing towards foreign companies that employ as few locals as possible and keep those all-important profits somewhere else, where they won’t benefit your victim nation. You will also want to push wages and incomes down as low as possible (not your own of course!) There are many angles to attack along this line. Crush trade unions. Encourage one-on-one employment contracts (let’s face it, most people will be worse off if they have to negotiate alone against a big employer). Help your corporate friends import low-wage labour from other countries. If these workers don’t stay long, they will send and take much of their earnings home with them, adding extra harm to your victim economy.
It is possible that your political predecessors may have caved in to demands from namby pamby snowflakes in the past to establish social welfare safety nets. These are a nuisance because people with guaranteed incomes – even low ones – can still spend this money in the local economy, stimulating demand and keeping the wheels turning. You must strive – hand in hand with your friends the corporations and the ever-helpful media – to shut down this unwanted source of economic stimulus.
If you have been doing your job properly there will be hardly any vacant jobs in your economy and demand will be tanking. Nobody will be able to get wage rises because there will be plenty of unemployed keen to take their place. (Not you, of course, you can give yourself pay rises as easily as you can divert money to your friends and political party donors. Perks of office, you know.) This is where you turn the story upside down. Now you blame the poor and unemployed that you have worked so hard to create for making the economic situation worse by insisting on being fed and housed. Now your media friends will really prove their worth. They will attack the poor and miserable, portraying them as lazy and worthless. Those citizens who still have jobs will mostly be happy enough to go along with this as long as they aren’t being too badly affected by the economic collapse you are bringing on. You will be able to rob the poor of social benefits, bit by bit, and hardly anybody will complain. And if they do, their voices will hardly be heard above the choruses of praise coming your way from the media.
Force them into poverty, then blame them
Naturally, forcing people into grinding poverty will create more crime, and there are plenty of corporations ready, willing and able to help with locking up the extra criminals you help create. The extra crime also generates fear and distrust in what’s left of the “community” you are dismantling, which is ultimately win-win for you, the media and the corporations.
So, to recap: your immediate goals – assuming you are truly dedicated to wrecking your country’s economy – are to transfer as many income-generating assets to foreign corporations and to strip purchasing power from the hands of as many of your citizens as you can manage. All the while you pretend you are striving for your nation’s economic betterment, using the smokescreen of lies and propaganda pumped out by your allies in the corporate media.
There will be more tasks ahead, but concentrate on the above, for now, and the destruction of your chosen victim nation’s economy is assured.