The evidence of my own eyes, therefore, tells me there is no credit crunch, and that insofar as retailers are struggling, it is because of a lack of inventory, not a lack of credit.
For me, then, the recession is not an empirical fact in the sense of something I experience directly.
Of course, I won’t deny that some people are “really” losing their jobs. But as I say, this happens on a huge scale even in “good” macroeconomic times. Which, again, shows that individuals’ lived experience tells us little about macroeconomic phenomena such as booms and slumps. These are aggregate economic data, not direct sense data to any individuals.
Instead, recession is a hyper-real phenomenon, a construct of abstract aggregate data - and not even all aggregate data. It exists a little like the Gulf war existed for Baudrillard, as a media spectacle.
And we should interpret efforts to dampen the recession in this sense, as a manipulation of signs and simulacra. They are not efforts to improve the security of actual, real individuals. After all, did anyone react to the Pre-Budget report by thinking “my job, which was vulnerable last week, is safer now?”