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John Authers

X-Rated Recession Risks Can't Be Covered Up

It doesn’t matter how we define a recession. We’ll know one when we see it.

We’ll know it when we see it.

We’ll know it when we see it.

Photographer: Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

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When asked to define hardcore pornography, the great Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart famously replied that “I know it when I see it.” As talk of recession eddies around global markets, it’s probably best to take a similarly matter-of-fact approach. There are plenty of sensible economic definitions of the word “recession” and what happens over the next 24 months or so may well not satisfy all of them. But the chances that the economy goes through something that most of us know to be a recession when we see it are overwhelming.