Let's Call It a Flump
The economics meme of the day appears to be naming the current downturn. A while back, our friends at Economix solicited reader suggestions, of which my favorite was “The Great Deception.” At Dubner’s urging, Freako readers chimed in with more alternatives. The Times‘s William Safire has also addressed this linguistic puzzle, offering various options, including the Safirrific “economic detumenscence.” And the emerging favorite, the “Great Recession,” was struck down in a neat piece of research by Catherine Rampell, whose careful combing of the archives revealed that “Every recession of the last several decades has, at some point or another, received this special designation.”
Always last to any such fad, I polled my economist friends on Facebook, and that formed the basis for a little piece I did for NPR’s Marketplace last week. (Text here; listen to it here.) The winning suggestion?
The best idea comes from Doireann Fitzgerald, an Irish economist at Stanford. She suggests we call it a “Clump,” short for credit slump, or a “Flump,” which denotes a financial slump. As she said, “Flump has a pleasing whiff of incompetence about it.”
Oh, and for a whiff of nostalgia: remember back when we were debating whether to even call it a recession?