Thursday, September 29, 2011

We Must Firewall Contagion!

Jonathan Weil, writing in Bloomberg, has a great dictionary of European Financial terms. Here's my favorite.
3. Firewall: A partition made of fireproof material to prevent the spread of flames from one place to another. Of no use in containing a financial crisis, except as vague public- relations catnip for readers of news articles who can’t tell the difference between napalm and a 10-year bond.

Usage: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is fluent in both Euro and Mandarin, last weekend urged euro-area nations “to create a firewall against further contagion.”
These kinds of statements always get to me. Another great one is to talk about the "peripheral" countries like Greece or Portugal as if those two going bankrupt isn't going to drag down a whole bunch of big banks across the Continent. They're peripheral in the same way the hole in the hull of the Titanic was peripheral.

Read the whole thing. It's darkly funny.

No comments: