This financial crisis needs a name

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Today’s looking like the most fraught day yet in the rolling financial crisis of 07-08(-09?). Yeah, U.S. stock prices are up as of 10:50 a.m. But despite the continuing tendency of CNBC (and most of the rest of the financial media) to focus on the Dow and the S&P, they’re not what really matter here. This is a credit crisis, not a stock market crisis, and as best I can tell (from reading FT Alphaville, for example) credit markets are still totally wiggin’.

This was actually true of past crises as well. The Crash of 1929 gets all the press, but it was the banking system collapse of the early 1930s that really caused the Great Depression. Black Monday in 1987 may have seen the biggest-ever stock market drop, but the morning after was when the financial world almost came to an end.

So we definitely shouldn’t name this crisis after a stock market event. But then what the heck should we call it?

“Subprime crisis” was fine at first, but it’s now totally inadequate to describe what’s going on. “Credit crisis” is way too generic. And “rolling financial crisis of 07-08(-09?),” which I use above, is way too lame.

I haven’t been able to come up with a good answer. But in an effort to get the ball rolling, I’ll throw out a few possibilities:

The Great Deleveraging


The Bourbon Crisis (an homage to the Mexican “tequila crisis” of 1995)

The Mortgage Meltdown

The Securitization Disaster (I was looking for alliteration, but none sprang to mind)

The Dimon Decade

The Greenspan Hangover

The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization

Anyway, I know these are totally inadequate. But I’m hoping that perhaps my commenters, or others in the blogosphere, can do better. This crisis deserves a name!

Update: Thanks for all the suggestions below, and thanks to Swampland commenter J.J. for pointing me to Duncan Black’s pithy (and unreprintable in a family blog) phrase.

Update 2: More on the topic here.