Unspeak: Episode 2 - Money Talks

Unspeak: Episode 2 - Money Talks

Do you remember the credit crunch? It was a collapse in credit, which comes from
Credo, the Latin for ''belief''. Financial Credit is just belief or trust that people will pay back what they owe.
When the belief breaks down so does the system. This happened because
people began defaulting on the subprime mortgages that had been aggressively
sold to them. Technically it was actually
the people not the loans who would be defined as
subprime by the banks. It was a delicate way to describe
people they didn't think were completely reliable. They were almost prime, nearly perfect. And then the credit crunch happened and
the banks needed to be bailed out. Normally what you bail out is a
leaky boat, but periodically removing the water from a
leaking vessel doesn't actually solve the underlying problem. Once you're in
dock you need to fix the hole. These leaky banks, it was said, were too
big to fail. In one ordinary sense of the word fail which is the opposite of succeed, the banks
had failed That's why they were hemorrhaging cash
in letting in bilge water.

But they were too big to fail in the sense of
being allowed to fall apart under the repulsive forces of their own incompetence. If a bank is too big to
fail what about a country? The financial
crisis was followed by the terrifyingly named Eurocrisis, as though the continent were
about to explode into war The euro zone had for a time been a
demilitarized zone of happy financial experimentation but now
some nations were in danger of falling out of it entirely. Greece received repeated bailouts
but noone fixed the hole in the Ship of Theseus. Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain became
the pariahs of Europe mocked with the bestial acronym
PIGS If these overspending countries on wilder
fringes of the Euro-zone were just swine, who cared what happened
to them? The sick pigs were treated with
austerity measures Austerity is a severe kind of virtuous discipline, so citizens were
expected to agree that it was good for them. The name evoked the austerity
regime of rationing after the end of the second world war to
convince us that the situation now was equally desperate and the bitter medicine was necessary.
Greece needed repeated doses of the miracle austerity drug.

Sometimes
they were sympathetically called painful measures, as when a doctor warns you might feel a little discomfort
before skewering you with an enormous needle. In America meanwhile people were talking up a new new crisis
the specter of another recession when the Bush tax cuts expired and spending
was reduced. This was the looming fiscal cliff. It wasn't clear whether the leaky
boat of the USA was going to smash into the bottom of the cliff or whether Lady Liberty would run
off the edge of the cliff, her legs pumping frantically in mid-air
like Wiley Coyote before she fell to her doom. European austerity had already
plunged some countries into a double-dip recession which sounds like either an extra
coating of sherbet on your licorice stick or the pornographic hobby of people
who didn't get the austerity memo. The word recession itself was originally
a euphemism for the word depression but that sounded
too… …depressing.Then recession itself became
scary In the 1970s, the White
House economist, Alfred Khan, was told to stop saying recession, so he
began to give speeches that warned of a looming banana.

Austerity (Film Subject)

You will not laugh, you will not cry,
you will learn by the number I will teach you! The point of all
this austerity, we were told, was to reassure the markets. Markets are
sensitive and anxious things and the job of politicians and central
bankers is to soothe their troubled growls, to assuage their every fear. If markets were calm the job was done…until they got nervous
again. Maybe the austerity packages really
contained bottles of Valium pills for traders. Citizens
could only hope that the Euro Crisis would eventually be solved by
someone with sufficient eurovision One day perhaps history would
record that Europeans was saved from being driven like austere lemmings over
the fiscal cliff by a surprise credit injection in Sweden's Loreen.

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As found on YouTube

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