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A good recession

A downturn wouldn't be a bad thing if we could clean up financial excess without returning to the early 1980s

By David Goodhart   November 2008

Is it possible that an economic downturn might raise public spirits? I don’t just mean the initial burst of schadenfreude as financiers become the first to lose their jobs and their silly salaries.

Rather, might the excessively gloomy view of the state of Britain, which has been hanging like a fog over the country for a couple of years, come to be seen as a top-of-the-market indulgence? When people do have something serious to be concerned about, the gap between feelings and reality will narrow—and miserabilism might mutate into a more attractive stoicism.

This raises the related issue of…

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