Simon English: This is alarming, but not nearly as scary as 2008
Don't listen to the man on the news who says you're doomed
Tuesday 08 May 2012
End of the world starts tomorrow. Again. It's tin hat time. Again. Send for lawyers, guns and gold.
If you're getting tired of this script, that's perfectly understandable. According to the doom-mongers, the eurozone has been in crisis since at least 2009. Or since the euro itself came into existence in 1999, if you really insist.
The dictionary says that a crisis is a time of "intense difficulty, trouble, or danger".
If you believe what you read, that sounds like a fairly permanent state of affairs, so it can't really be a crisis.
Crisis, says Websters, is also a time "when vital decisions mustbe made".
Here's an alternative view. Don't do anything whatsoever. And don't listen to the man on the news who says you're doomed.
Every time you hear the phrases "panic selling" or "billions wiped off markets", turn your nonsense detector to full speed.
It's quite possible that hardly anybody sold anything and that those billions will be wiped back on soon enough.
The FTSE 100 finished 2008at 4434. So it's hardly a disaster that it opened this morning at 5655.
As for the bankers that largely created the present malaise, we should take amusement from their demands that elected politicians fix in a jiffy what they took many years to destroy.
Honestly, moan the supposed masters of the universe, when is someone else going to do something?
The collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 was genuinely scary. Old-timers who thought they had seen it all were white-as-a-sheet. The financial system really was only hours away from total collapse, from genuine chaos.
The present difficulties are alarming. And real pain will be meted out to people who don't deserve it. But this isn't like that was.
One way and another, we'll probably figure it out. We always have before.
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