Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's in a Name?

e-kvetcher points out in the comments of my previous post:
It's funny that the term "depression" was invented by Hoover to try to find a more uplifting term for what was happening in 1929...
he points out that before calling it a depression they used to call it a bank panic. After the Great Depression, the government and the media stopped using the term depression and started using the term recession, since depression had a too negative connotation. This got me thinking what they will start calling it now. I don't think they will revert to calling our current situation a depression again, even if it goes on to equal the financial damage of the Great Depression. Instead, I imagine Obama and the media to begin referring to it a a global Boo Boo. The public has high hopes that the newly elected President will kiss it and make it all better. I have my doubts. We shall see.

5 Comments:

Blogger e-kvetcher said...

In many ways, this type of thing has much to do with hope and expectations. So there is definitely a self-fulfilling prophesy component to this thing...

In some ways, the President and the press need to put a positive spin on it. It has concrete benefits in the world of credit and finance.

11:36 AM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...

reforming the banking industry would probably bring confidence and actually lasting benefit. If it's just a confidence game, like a ponzi scheme, it will eventually collapse

2:09 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

I don't know much about it. I am a technologist. Though about 10 years back, I worked on a system for Securities Lending and so I got to understand some of the workings of the big houses on the Street. I remember looking at the formulas for risk and collateralization, and asking the traders "but what happens if this falls apart" and their answer was basically that everyone trusts that it will not all fall apart. Apparently, now is the time when it all fell apart...

4:55 PM  
Blogger Orthoprax said...

For years I was totally mystified by the stock market. Why would people buy stock if they knew its value was totally relative and could (and would!) change purely based on its perceived value? A stock's value can be completely unrelated to the success or failure of the company it represents. The only way a stock's value is kept afloat is by people believing it would stay afloat.

When they say the religion of America is the Almighty Dollar - it's actually an idea that hits closer than one might have thought.

It's amazing how its just confidence in the system that makes the system work. It stands to reason that a hope-spewing cheerleader could do far more for the economy than any multi-billion stimulus package.

2:02 AM  
Blogger wsxwhx721 said...

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4:17 AM  

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