Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Soothing Noises

You know… well, that crisis and all? It isn’t really all that bad. No. Not at all. It’s been hyped up out of all proportions. Yesterday’s Gazeta Wyborcza has the real deal. Page one’s main headline is about the cheerful sounds coming from the United States Federal Reserve (which GW clubbily refers to as “the Fed”) about how Mr. Bernanke thinks it will all be over by Christmas (2009). Bernanke knows what he’s on about, says GW’s man, and wouldn’t risk his good name without reason. (Sure he wouldn’t: he might lose his job if he got it wrong, just like all the other thousands of economists now seeking work after failing to spot this depression coming.) GW’s “My Business” supplement features a front page story about how a scooter manufacturer is doing fine despite this so-called, alleged “crisis.” Such supplements are usually dross even by the standards of the papers which they appear in so some may find it unfair that I even mention this story and the next, on page three of the same supplement: “You lost your job? Set up a Company.” I remember that fairy tale from the 80s in Ireland. We were told the failure of the economy was our fault because we weren’t entrepreneurial enough. Why weren’t we all selling each other stuff we had made? Back to the main paper, and page four’s headline: “Companies are Hiring Again,” accompanied by optimistic-looking graph and quotes from various companies about how they are hiring again. It’s just a thought, but if XYZ Bank claims it’s taking on 450 people this year, might that not be a marketing ploy? A way of persuading customers that XYZ Bank is a safe bet? Of putting the fear of God into competitors? It’s just a thought. Finally, for the day, there’s a story in the business pages headlined “Optimism returns to the Stock Market.”

This is part of a trend here recently. It’s to be seen on TV also, where guests are invited to demonstrate that there really is a crisis. “After all,” the thinking seems to be, “I haven’t lost my job yet. How serious can it be if highly paid TV presenters aren’t feeling the pinch?” It’s all so preposterous that even GW cannot avoid an obvious possibility: that this is all just “talking up the market”(or “lying”). They quote an economist called Petru on their front page about Bernanke’s happy meal prediction: Petru thinks Bernanke is just trying to spread optimism. “Like Gazeta Wyborcza,” no one adds. Messages are mixed, though. For all the patriotic duty of journalists to assure us that The System Works and There Is No Alternative, they cannot always resist the temptation to publish a scary sensationalist headline at least very now and again.

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