Is It Time to Name This Recession?

As evidenced by this chart from the betting site Intrade, the probability of Slumdog Millionaire winning the Oscar for Best Picture has risen over the past two months right along with the probability that 2009 will be a year of recession (i.e., two negative quarters of G.D.P.):


This correlation isn’t meaningful in any way. Lots of things rise (or fall) in lockstep all the time without having anything to do with one another. Intrade sent this picture around just for kicks, pointing out the presence of “a feel-good movie for feel-bad markets.”

But it did get me to thinking. However you want to characterize this economic storm we’re living through — Gordon Brown “mistakenly” called it a depression while Richard Posner has called it a depression outright — the fact is that it doesn’t yet have a proper name, just as many historic events don’t have a name until long after the fact.

I am now wondering if “Slumdog,” a new word that has burst into public consciousness, shouldn’t be the name, or at least part of it. It’s got the requisite feel-bad connotations — slums, dogs, etc. Are we living through the Great Slumdog? The Slumdog Recession/Depression? The Day of the Slumdog?

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  1. aaron says:

    The Oil Bubble Recession

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  2. Robin says:

    Millennium Recession II: Revenge of the Shorts

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  3. drew says:

    The Great Recession

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  4. aaron says:

    or The Congestion Recession.

    You can see here how fuel economy declined when gasoline prices started climbing in 2006. While some of it may be due to changes in the fleet structure and increasing cell phone usage, most of it is probably due to poor reaction to rising fuel prices. People mistakenly believe that driving and accelerating slower is more fuel efficient, it is not. Accelerating quickly, but smoothly is slightly more efficient than accelerating slowly, and accelerating slowly adversly affects traffic.

    Higher cruising speeds actually produce better fuel economy below 55mph.

    We also probably experience Giffen Behavior as well. When margins are trimmed due to rising costs, people probably shifted driving more to peak traffic times to maintain income and did less driving in the off-peak hours for personal consumption.

    Jim Hamilton has also writen about how consumers react to energy shocks. The uncertainty after upward price shocks leads to larger decline in consumption because of uncertainty. Downward spikes do not produce a similar increase in consumption.

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  5. Tim H says:

    The Bush Ka-Boom

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  6. Cory says:

    The Beginning of the End

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  7. David says:

    I thought we’d already settled on “Depression 2.0″

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  8. DrNova says:


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  9. Shay Guy says:

    Thing is, “Slumdog” SOUNDS like a recession.

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  10. Chuck says:

    Depression II, renaming The Great Depression to Depression I.

    This by the same logic where The Great War became WWI when WWII came around.

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  11. Adam says:

    The 1st Globalization Bubble

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  12. TSG says:

    The Geography of Nowhere Recession

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  13. Katie H says:

    The Slumdog Slump?

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  14. KimBoo York says:

    The Great Depression 2.0

    (not mine, I stole it from somewhere/someone…hmmm…who?)

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  15. Leland Witter says:


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  16. Billy says:


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  17. jonathan feldman says:

    I don’t know know what to call it, but I think subprime, housing, mortgage, ARM, sprawl, foreclosure, Iraq, or keynes should be somewhere in the name.

    This will be worse than the depression because we go into this one with over $10,000,000,000,000 in debt, rather than a surplus.

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  18. aaron says:

    The Oil Producers Invested in Mortagage Backed Securities Instead of Infrastructure, Increased Capacity, and Maintenance Recession.

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  19. chip says:

    The Creative Class Recession

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  20. kevin says:

    I’m sorry, but if you talk to anyone who actually lived through the great depression, there is no way you would contend that this will be worse.

    Not even close.

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  21. Norm says:

    Depression II – Electric Bugaloo

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  22. joe says:

    “The Debt Derivatives Debacle”
    “The Great Credit Default Swindle”
    “The American Bankruptcy of 2010″

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  23. Isaac Willis says:

    The Not so Green Span

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  24. thecools, UK says:

    Robert Wade’s already named this one.

    The First World Debt Crisis

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  25. Rhonda says:

    The Great BushWhack!

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  26. Rhonda says:

    The Great Housing-Bubble-Credit-Crisis-Bailout-Inflation-Deflation-Recession Depression

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  27. Katie says: had a great post the other day about what a depression would look like in 2009 and how it might effect telecom and technology industries. Check it out at

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  28. M.B. says:

    The recession of made worse too many so called economic stimulus packages.

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  29. chappy says:

    The Not So Great Depression

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  30. econobiker says:

    The Recession of Two Thousand and Aught Eight.

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  31. Geoff says:

    The Big Margin Call

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  32. Adam Kennedy says:

    Come on, we’re a year from the end of the decade and we’ve yet find find a good use for it’s name. This is the perfect opportunity, finally.

    The Naughty Recession

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  33. Kevin says:

    This gets my vote:

    “The Pre-Record-Boom Short-Term Recession of 2008-2009″

    Now, how do we make this happen?

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  34. NotAGenius says:

    The Great Default.

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  35. OmegaSupreme says:

    Banky Spanky ?

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  36. Yaniv Bernstein says:

    The Debtonation.

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  37. the_iron_troll says:

    I think Free Exchange (The Economist’s new economics blog) already did this.

    They came up with The Great Recession, which I think is rather excellent..

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  38. and by says:

    we don’t have the dust bowl so it can’t be the great depression II

    hope vs. depression the rumble in the four bed bungalow you couldn’t afford

    (#32 is best so far)

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  39. Varun says:

    Depression 2.0. It has a in-thing feeling to it

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  40. kevin says:

    #21 Norm FTW. Came for that. Leaving satisfied.

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  41. Chris Dudley says:

    I’m not so sure it needs a name as a number. If we pull out quickly, I think we’ll mark it as the Third Bush Recession. But, if it takes a long time to get out and we have to completely restructure our energy sector to rid ourselves of a structural trade deficit, the this will turn out to be the First Reagan Depression since it was Reagan who cut energy research which would have us out of our trade deficit problems already if it had continued.

    Interesting how President Obama has manuvered some law makers into voting against a big tax cut.

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  42. Bill says:

    Of course the buzz is all about executive compensation. How can any executive be compensated when their company is in the red? It’s not logical.

    But this leads to corporate husking (or fleecing) of consumers using taxpayers’ dollars. Let’s not just get lost in all of these corporate executive idiosyncracies, when we should also examine corporations that have figured out ways to shake down consumers using taxpayers dollars with seals of approval from the stock market.

    Case in point, why isn’t Obama’s team going after “education” institutes like University of Phoenix? How many millions of dollars each year does this institute take from consumers in terms of U.S. Government Student Loans without providing an equally compensatory educational service?

    Is this the only well-lubricated, NASDAQ endorsed, Corporate America/U.S. Government setup out there that seems to consistently fleece taxpayers, both directly and indirectly? We should examine corporate practices like these, as well.

    Isn’t the American society and the U.S. Government losing terribly in these setups. Isn’t anybody concerned?

    Maybe we should shift some of our focus away from corporate executive compensation and “terrorists and attacks from within,” as is all over the media, and examine questionable education practices which come from within our own society and are enacted on itself.

    Fleecing U.S. consumers and U.S. taxpayers through our education system is truly an attack from within, with short, medium, and long-term effects. And all the while foreign students are sent by their governments to our real, nationally accredited, U.S. universities just to take their knowledge back to their countries of origin. If the aforementioned educational practices represent healthy capitalism, then I don’t see how such a system can support itself.

    Stop the madness!!!

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  43. zee says:

    I like Slumdog Recession….In fact this is what I am going to start referring to it as in the hopes that it will catch on and get mass appeal!

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  44. Gemma says:

    I loved The Sun’s headline earlier this week: “Scumbag Millionaires.”

    It was saved for posterity here:

    [Four banking bosses were being grilled by the UK parliament.]

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  45. F.R. Redepression says:


    It apparently already has its own theme song:

    F’ the ReDepresion, Jesus wants to you spending…LOL

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  46. Bruce says:


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  47. Robert says:


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  48. Kumar in New York City says:

    I like slum dog recession – but I think the slums in Mumbai will eventually come down and new housing will come up.

    Here are some more suggestions:

    1) From housing crisis to slums
    2) The rich now live in slums
    3) Its a dog eat dog world

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  49. Joe says:

    I think…. that since no one saw this one coming, it must be named accordingly — something about us who let ourselves be so majorly screwed by big money, but something kind… what do ya think about this one: the [great] depression of fools?

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  50. freedey says:

    I vote for redepression

    Its like a mix of recession and depression

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  51. John says:

    The Y Problem, or Solve for Y

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  52. Michael H says:

    Think about it!!! FICO score is the one that promised people could afford the debt!!!!!!!!!!!

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