Up is down: The credit crunch quiz

David Randall sets the questions on the new through-the-looking-glass economic orthodoxy (answers at the bottom of the page)

"So there we were, sitting in this lap-dancing club, having a laugh about that plonker Gordon Brown, and telling this bloke from the Treasury on the next table to get a life, when – poof! – suddenly it all changes. Next day, we're in the office and they're sayin' we've been this thing called part-nationalised, Gordon's saved our ass, and we'd better sort out the lending ratio PDQ 'cos the regulator's due round tomorrow. Blimey."

Better cancel the Ferrari, Toby. And maybe get rid of those red braces. It's a different world now. No more funny-money bonuses for a while. No more buying loans you don't understand from people you've never met. It's over. We, the taxpayers, are the shareholders, now. Confusing, isn't it? I mean it's all happened so quickly. One minute you were living in a deregulated world where nothing made sense but you made a lot of money. The next, it's all turned on its head. Up is down, round is square, and pinstripes are the new sackcloth and ashes.

And you're not alone. We've all got to adjust. Turns out the things we thought were appreciating assets are only homes, and, suddenly, we're not being offered those bits of plastic that turned into cash whenever we made a wish. And imagine what it's like for Gordon Brown. He used to be able to rely on everyone hating him. These days, he's not so sure.

There are new rules now, except that some of them are very old rules – the ones we knew before untrammelled free markets became the orthodoxy. And they're going to take a lot of getting used to. The thing is: are you ready for the new realism? Or are you still stuck in the very recent past? To help, we've devised some homework, a sort of Citizens' Proficiency Test in the new reality. Before you make a decision, or order so much as a paperback online, take it, study it, learn it. And don't even leave home until you've passed.

1. Nationalisation

Would you describe this as:

a) Something you've read about in history books, but you're not really sure what it means?

b) The glorious taking into public ownership of the means of production for the benefit of the down-trodden workers?

c) A piece of socialist nonsense that always leads to wasteful state monopolies that stifle free competition?

d) A sometimes necessary policy that, until very recently, electable politicians could not bring themselves to mention?

2. Gordon Brown

Is he:

a) A fingernail-chewing incompetent?

b) An emotional illiterate with whom the electorate has no rapport?

c) The Man Who Saved Britain and Can Make Jokes at the Same Time?

d) A good chancellor who has been an ineffectual PM?

3. Sound economies

In a World Economic Forum survey of the soundness of national banking systems, which country ranked above Britain?

a) Peru?

b) Canada?

c) Senegal?

d) Botswana?

e) Namibia?

f) Estonia?

g) Mauritius?

h) El Salvador?

4. Prudence

You have £5,000 to invest. Is the wisest thing now to:

a) Stick it in the sock drawer and wait for everything to calm down?

b) Go online, find that que-sera-sera.com, a subsidiary of a small Bolivian bank, is offering the best rate, and fill your boots?

c) Spend it, because inflation is going to be so bad that it won't be long before it's worth only £43.67?

d) Head for Northern Rock?

5. Property prices

The value of your home is:

a) Something to be checked constantly by telling one estate agent after another that you are thinking of putting it on the market?

b) A prime, and fascinating, topic of conversation?

c) Falling somewhat, which is a bit worrying because you were intending to get another loan against it?

d) Nothing to do with money, but a matter of how warm, comfortable, and friendly it is?

6. Desirable offshore havens

Which country came top in a United Nations survey last year of the best country in which to live:

a) The US?

b) The Netherlands?

c) France?

d) Iceland?

7. Banks

Who said bankers have "created and presided over a system founded in folly and greed":

a) A right-wing commentator often found on the grouse moors?

b) Dennis Skinner?

c) Barack Obama?

d) Robert Peston?

8. Saving vs borrowing

Who will be the real losers from the current crisis and its falling interest rates:

a) Slightly nervous, but prudent savers who spread their risk?

b) Bonus-laden bankers who've caused the whole bloody thing?

c) Wilful credit card addicts?

d) Financial advisers who scoffed at the "reckless caution" of their private pension clients?

9. Regulators

Who asked last year, and might now be reassessing the question: "Why do we wish to inhibit the pollinating bees of Wall Street?"

a) Alan Greenspan

b) Warren Buffet, market player extraordinaire

c) David Attenborough

d) George W Bush

But, finally, some things never really change...

10. Corporate culture

What did some executives at the US insurer AIG do just a week after being bailed out by their government:

a) Report even earlier for work, determined to pay back the US taxpayer as soon as possible?

b) Conduct a full-scale inquiry into where it all went wrong?

c) Resign?

d) Go to an ocean resort and spend $443,434 on a corporate jolly that included $150,000 for catered banquets, $23,000 at the hotel spa, and thousands more on hair-styling, pedicures, facials and massages?

11. Sorry and blame

Who said "We would like to apologise on behalf of the banks for the mess we've made of things. We accept full responsibility for our reckless behaviour. It was the thought of all those bonuses that made us do it"

a) Statement by Bradford & Bingley?

b) Lehman Brothers press release?

c) Notice pinned up on door of Icesave in Reykjavik?

d) Bloke in a suit interviewed by Sky TV as he hopped into his Maserati?

12. Markets

What kind of market are we now seeing on stock exchanges around the world?

a) Bull? b) Sheep? c) Lemming? d) Bear?

Answers: 1. d) 2. c) 3. All of them. Britain is now 44th. 4. d) 5. d) 6. d) 7. a) By the name of Max Hastings. 8. a) 9. a) Alan Greenspan in 'The Age of Turbulence' (2007) 10. d) 11. None of the above. You'd like to think that one of them might, but while a worldwide financial crisis can alter the entire political landscape, and change the foundations of what we all still, laughably, call our "personal wealth", nothing can shift today's "Not me, guv" culture. In China, they do these things differently. By this stage in the crisis, a couple of bankers would have been frog-marched into a sports arena and executed. It may seem harsh, but, on reflection, not overly so. 12. b)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable