Thursday, July 02, 2015

Contagion. aka: OMG, The Sky is Falling!

Zerohedge and many other doomsdayers frequently use the word "Contagion."  They use it to either:
1) describe an international domino effect of one economic disaster triggering chaos in other economies.  Their thinking: we are a world economy now, all interconnected, and thus an economic downturn in one economy will trigger unforeseen downturns in others.  Or, 
2) to describe the national economic turmoil within a single collapsing economy.  This UK Telegraph article, linkied by Drudge today, is doing exactly that.  Their "contagion" is the crisis the Greek citizens are feeling at the ATMs - some out of cash and some with reduced withdraw limits. 

I've seen "contagion" enough from these sources that I thought I'd go look up the definition.  Here it is -

As you can see, there is nothing about economic crisis in the "contagion" definition.

N O T H I N G.  

Yes, we can all agree on what these doomsdayers mean by using the word: that bad economic decisions lead to suffering and often more bad economic decisions.  We can also agree that this intended meaning is appropriate for the current problems in Greece.

But can we all agree they are using the word "contagion" incorrectly?

From this point on, I will tune-out when I hear this word.  It is a fear word, not a descriptive word.  Those using it are using it to create fear, or to somehow convey some worldly knowledge or expert economic wisdom.  This is no different than President Obama using the word "Stimulus" to describe a jobs program when, in fact, it was a near-trillion dollar gift to labor unions and other political allies that led to zero new jobs.

The only "contagion" we need fear is crabs from hookers (if you're into that), HIV from homosexuals (if you're into that), tuberculosis (TB), Chagas disease, dengue fever, hepatitis, malaria, or measles from our new 'citizens' from Mexico and Central America, and Ebola from those coming across our open borders from Sierra Leone.

Here are some suggested words that we can use in place of "contagion:"
Turmoil - a state of great commotion, confusion, or disturbance; tumult; agitation; disquiet.

Bedlam - a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion.

Chaos - a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.

Commotion - violent or tumultuous motion; agitation; noisy disturbance.  Or, political or social disturbance or upheaval; sedition; insurrection.

Maelstrom - a restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs.

Pandemonium -  wild uproar or unrestrained disorder; tumult or chaos.  Or, a place or scene of riotous uproar or utter chaos.

Disturbance - an outbreak of disorder; a breach of public peace.

Strife - vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism.

Disorder - breach of order; disorderly conduct; public disturbance.

As a product of the public school system, I should NOT be the one trusted to make these observations and corrections. But this is my burden.

As a platoon sergeant once told Pvt Karl: "If you see something wrong and don't fix it, you've just set a new standard."

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