Saving Capitalism & Spinning Jargons

Capitalism is dead – long live capitalism! The funeral has been announced and postponed as there is a dispute over the cause of death and whether it is really dead And since no will or testament has been written, there is a problem of the estate and the many debtors lining up to make their claims. While we await an inquest, some of the key worshippers and high priests of this once mighty god is now calling for a “responsible” off spring to step in and “run things”. There is a strong belief in some form of a resurrection and theologians are wrestling about the implications of this for faith.

In the meantime the merchants of capitalism’s death – those very greedy earners of meteoric sums of money continue to grease their palms and pockets with extravagant amounts in bonuses. These are very happy people. Many others are unhappy having lost their jobs or source of income, unable find work and are faced with mounting debts. Would the bonuses make these human beings better bankers with a heart for the common good? Perhaps they will prove philosopher Jeremy Bentham right in his suggestions that if you want to know the right thing to do: ask yourself what will increase the happiness of most people, and decrease pain.

In the meantime, I have been wrestling with some of the economic jargons we are bombarded with and associated with the deep mess we are in. Here are some, with my own attempts at busting these, just to decrease pain….for the fun of it!

  • AAA-rating: means that there is still some time before the battery life runs dry. Or like the 3 A* you will need to stand a chance for Ox-Bridge: welcome to the world of the privileged!
  • Administration: means that when the crap hits the fan, rescue will arrive in a form of directed supervision to help you out of the mess. The courts will be calling the shots!
  • Assets: that which will provide income -cunning ingenuity to beat an oppressive system
  • Austerity: economic policy aimed at only one group of people – the already poor!
  • Bailout: frantic struggle to rescue that which is sinking or already sunk.
  • Bankruptcy: having you assets devalued in order to be liquidated (see administration).
  • Bear/Bull Market: has nothing to do with animals though they conjure images of altar and sacrifice.
  • BRIC: has nothing to do the construction business. It stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China – the rising [by the way not a new horror film ]
  • Capital adequacy ratio: can be compared to a sponge: it estimates the ability to absorb losses!
  • Credit crunch: has nothing to do with abdominal exercises, though its effect may spell forced starvation for some and natural weight loss/shrinking stomach for others.
  • Credit default swap (CDS) is a sophisticated way to speculate on the misery of borrowers unable to repay
  • Currency Peg: a fixed furnishing on which to hang out your devalued or worthless currency. This mechanism collapses when the currency in the central bank dries up!
  • Core inflation: is another way to underscore that we continue to be screwed, and with central bankers starting to eat more than fingernails.

Ambrose Bierce (The Devil’s Dictionary) observed that “there is nothing new under the sun but there are lots of old things we don’t know.” It may be the case that the jargons we are bombarded with merely serve to cover up our ignorance and our inability to name the monster before us. Fancy and technical language aside: one word – greed – sums it up!

© jagessar January 24, 2012

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