The Spirit of Recession

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2010 Paul Chan / October/MIT Press

In 1991, I was at once too poor and not poor enough to be caught up in the last great American recession of the 20th century. Living far from the coastal epi- centers of culture and capital, and being too young and naive to know, much less care, about life beyond my meager horizons, the idea of a phenomenon that throws entire societies into dire phrases like “negative growth” and “economic depression” was as abstract and remote to me as the actual reasons behind the appearance of a recession are in re