Financial Ruin or What?

Alongside this roller-coaster financial climate has been a reporting system that has seemingly enjoyed and overplayed every event and occurrence, blowing situations out of proportion seemingly for fun or just to obtain reactions from the ‘public on strings’. Financial columns and some headlines in newspapers are filled to bursting with alarming stories on how the world is on tenterhooks, waiting for the release of the latest job figures or estimates of Oil Stocks in America.

The world is so confused and hyped up that reports on imminent US Dollar Collapse and imminent Chinese Domination actually run alongside articles on recent Dollar gains and possible Chinese economic ruin, all packaged and read in the same newspaper. It has gotten to the stage for many that the highlight of the year is a hike in Interest Rates or as a daily necessity a check of the latest exchange rates. In fact should anybody take most of the stories literally then financial ruin or for that matter ‘from rags to riches’ is just around the next corner.

Since the days of trading in beans ‘money’ has been something that lives and livelihoods have revolved around. ‘Money is the root of all evil’ but without which life is a constant trial with no high points! But life has now become more than this. It is no longer enough to worry about were the next dollar or pound will come from, no longer sufficient to dream of winning billions on the lottery, now we must all worry about and react to a financial scandal in some Italian Bakery, the antics of a supposedly wise investor in Macau and the effects of a volcanic eruption in Madagascar that might somehow send shock waves through the dried fish market in Japan. Daily news on financial markets and the methods of reporting have become extremely pessimistic and alarming, it is no longer sufficient to report on a slight dollar drop by stating such but instead to predict the ending of the world. It has also become a requirement of reporters to predict what will happen down the road, tomorrow, next month and even next year yet without realising that they are never correct! Anyway, nobody predicted a sudden drop in US dollar value, yet now reporters and supposed financial experts are predicting that it will stay weak for a while longer – except for some others who think that it will get strong soon.

And nobody foresaw the sudden sharp rise in oil prices yet now, every expert and his mistress are issuing out knowledgeable predictions like machine guns at a party. Oil prices will remain high for the next century; this recent hike is only the start of an uphill increase that will be steeper than Mount Everest. Oil prices will not stop rising until oil has run out! Is this style of reporting verging on the alarming, the pessimistic and could this be suitable material for possible suicide? Certainly it can be!

Needless to say oil prices are falling, not quite on a slippery slope but falling none-the-less and without regard for the reporting that preceded the drop.

The question though that springs to mind: is it the alarmist style of reporting that is doing the harm or is it the fault of the average Joe Boggs for reading and for that matter reacting to the ‘suggested’? Reporters are only doing what they are trained to do and they probably enjoy getting alarmist reactions from their readers.

A demonstration in Times Square sparked off by a report that the government might raise taxes sometime in the next millennium, would bring a smile to the authors face. A mass dumping of US dollars, initiated by a single news feature that the US dollar was going to drop further, would bring a sense of pride to any writer, despite the fact that this prediction was after all just a brief spurt of unsubstantiated splurge that fell out before retiring for the night.

The writers, reporters or authors (call them what you may) are just doing their work and doing it well – it is the general public who respond with immediate desperation who are at fault. For Mr X to rush out and sell all of his shares in British Airways upon reading a report that the Pilots Union had rejected a 2% pay rise is well, pathetic, despite the fact that the report suggested that this was the only way to escape imminent financial ruin. For Mrs Y to fling herself off the nearest bridge, upon reading a news feature that suggested that a meteorite might land on the Bank Of England’s Head Office within the next million years (just because she had an account with them) is of course very sad but the article has certainly achieved its aim, of shocking!

Taking a months worth of reporting on the release of job data figures from the US government one could go from drugged and hyped, through suicidal to immediate thoughts of now being able to afford a house next door to Michael Jackson, before returning to the golden gate bridge or a bag of heroin for release from life.

Day One: “World on tenterhooks awaiting release of October’s job figures”

Day Two: “Markets drop as job figure release nears”

Day Three: ” KKK????!!!!!K.”

Day Eight: “Predictions of large increases in jobs spur markets forward”

Day Nine: “: K!!!!!KK..”

Day Twelve: “Latest Job figures show less than expected results, markets crumble on results”

Day Twenty: “Will markets ever recover from this latest fall or is a second collapse of Wall Street imminent? Is the US economy about to enter another depression”?

Day Twenty Five: “World on tenterhooks awaiting release of Novembers Job figures”.

A fantastic story indeed but that is all that it is – a story!


About the author:

Ieuan Dolby is the Author and Webmaster of SeaDolby.com. As a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy he has sailed the world for twenty years on a variety of rust buckets and state of the art vessels. Now living in Taiwan with his wife and son he writes about cultures across the globe and life as he sees it; a seafarers escapades with a few tall tales thrown in!

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