People often speak about the "economy". I think the complaint about the economy is justified. Surely, we could improve our lot marginally, we could alleviate some hardships here and there, but the real villain is "the economy". We could work a little harder, no doubt, but even this would be futile as long as the economy refused to work.

We must be all fed up hearing about monetarism and other " isms ", and even more fed up of listening to politicians who advocate the right remedies in opposition, after mucking up all their chances when they were in power. They advocate old and discredited methods and people, amazingly, believe them. The truth is that, in a bad run, we must have either unemployment, or inflation, or a feeble currency, or very high interest rates - in other words we may get rid of one evil to introduce another and usually worse one.

But all this changes when things are going well. And the end of recession is coming soon. It is not in sight yet but it is coming. What are the proofs of it ? There are no other proofs except that everything comes to an end some time and that includes recessions.

My stepfather was a very busy doctor. He was a devoted and caring man and quite a few patients swore that he was a miracle healer. Once I asked him if he really was a miracle-healer, a wonder-doctor.

"Nonsense," he replied. "I try my best, I can say that much with a good conscience. But, you see, one of two things happens to all sick people, whether they are treated by a doctor or not. The patient will either die or get better. There are a large number of people - among those who do not die - who rush from one doctor to another. They leave ten doctors in disgust and get better when in the care of the eleventh. They would get better even without any medical care at all, but they don't know that. If I happen to be that eleventh doctor who looks after them when they get better, I'm a miracle-healer ; if I'm the fifth or the eighth, then I am an incompetent fool like the rest."

It is exactly the same with the economy. It will get better one day, with the help of - or in spite of - monetarism. The economy is a patient who cannot afford to die, so it will survive. If it survives, it will improve. Whatever government will be in power at that crucial moment will claim full credit. That government will be the miracle-healer, however incompetent it may be. And due credit will be given. No cycle lasts forever, so that day is coming.

George MIKES, How to be poor, André Deutsch Ltd, 1960

The famous Kondratiev cycles in the French press

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