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?


The Oil Bubble Recession


Millennium Recession II: Revenge of the Shorts


The Great Recession


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.


Tim H

The Bush Ka-Boom


The Beginning of the End


I thought we'd already settled on "Depression 2.0"



Shay Guy

Thing is, "Slumdog" SOUNDS like a recession.


Depression II, renaming The Great Depression to Depression I.

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


The 1st Globalization Bubble


The Geography of Nowhere Recession

Katie H

The Slumdog Slump?

KimBoo York

The Great Depression 2.0

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

Leland Witter




jonathan feldman

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.


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


The Creative Class Recession


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.