The Great Recession, the global financial meltdown, and the many other names for our national nightmare Sometimes naming is easy. When Nadya Suleman had her octuplets, there wasn't much debate on the perfect nickname: Octomom stuck, and that name will likely follow her to her funeral (which should be..
\nThe Great Recession, the global financial meltdown, and the many other names for our national nightmareSometimes naming is easy. When Nadya Suleman had her octuplets, there wasn't much debate on the perfect nickname: Octomom stuck, and that name will likely follow her to her funeral (which should be well-attended, given Suleman's prolific procreation proclivities).If only the economic crisis were as easy to pin down as an octuplet-spawning maternal unit.But degree of difficulty doesn't stop people from trying, and one name is spreading like a fire in a foreclosed house: In The New York Times, Catherine Rampell notes that Great Recession is catching on as a name for the super-mega-hellstorm that has been raining down pink slips and frogs on the economy since last year.Great Recession does have historical resonance, and it seems kind of accurate, but it isn't original. As Rampell notes, Great Recessions have been declared or debated sporadically since the mid-1970s. Maybe we need a name that's more special and unique, or more doomy and apocalyptic, or more Charmin-like and euphemistic. Though language columnists with far greater gravitas than I have weighed in, it's time for me to throw my Baby Ruth bar in the pool. Let's soberly consider the alternatives before naming this notorious national nightmare.(A disclaimer: I have the financial acumen of a chimpanzee who's not even smart enough to use sign language or stock ammunition, much less count bananas… but that doesn't distinguish me from the crowd too much these days).mini-depressionWhile not as adorable as Mini-Me, this term is roughly synonymous to Great Recession and the mini part may be reassuring to some. Do I hear nano-depression, anyone?
"This is not the Great Depression of the 1930s, but nor is it turning out to be merely a bad recession of the kind we've experienced periodically over the last half century. Call it a Mini Depression."(Nov. 9, 2008, Robert Reich, Talking Points Memo)worldwide/global economic/financial downturn/slowdown/meltdownDownturn and slowdown are as synonymous as bunny and rabbit or politician and liar, but the history of slowdown does have some interesting moments. In addition to the econo-slo-mo meaning, slowdown also has meant a work stoppage, as seen here in 1955: "In dozens of factories there were slow-downs ... or sit-down strikes." Less skittish citizens may prefer global financial meltdown, or simply the meltdown. Few words apply so well to nuclear power plants, worldwide economies, and petulant toddlers who are going off the rails."Some of the banks at the center of the global financial meltdown are prominent purveyors of evasion services. UBS of Switzerland has acknowledged that as of Sept. 30, it held about 47,000 secret accounts for Americans."(March 13, 2009, New York Times)econogeddonThis is just a bloggy nonce term, but it's a nonce term with a certain the-end-is-here-ish appeal and some cousins, like econocalypse and econo-tastrophe. None of these words is expected to appear on CNBC in the next 40,000 years."The Econogeddon…Supply Side Karma"(Jan. 22, 2009, Freethought Forum)
economic pickleBack in December on the Times Economix blog, Rampell said, "No one seems to know quite what to call the economic pickle we're in." Well, how about that? There's something charming about this expression, or maybe I'm just hungry…"I met a friend at Starbucks recently who told me she'd believe we were in a real economic pickle when the line in the designer-coffee place was no longer 10 deep. I can see her point."(Feb. 21, 2009, Jim Osterman, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)Bush depressionIt's quite possible for Dems, Repubs, independents, and even tin-foil-hat-wearers to discuss econogeddons and pickles, but here's where you really can judge a writer by their words: Users of this term are likely not employed by Fox News or the Dick Cheney secret lair."You might miss Circuit City and Linens & Things, two casualties of the Bush Depression. Perhaps you worked there or bought your
first TV set or popcorn popper there. But unless you had a personal investment in either of those places, you won't likely miss them 5 years from now."(March 1, 2009, Chad Rubel, Alternet)Obama depressionLikewise, the knobs of folks who droolingly try to Obama-ize the crisis probably aren't set to NPR."In the U.S., many voters thought they were encouraging change. Instead, what they got was the same old wasteful and failed policies of the previous Congress. That change which is occurring in the U.S. government is not producing economic recovery, so needed by much of the world. What we are getting is the Obama Depression, an economic slide made longer by changing so much of the government for the worse."(March 9, 2009, The Market Oracle)So… Does Great Recession re-float your sinking boat or would you prefer a meltdown, crisis, or pickle with your former way of life, as it is destroyed forever? What other words might sum up this mess? Let us know, comment monkeys.