I wanted to help my best friend practice some English. So I had this wonderful idea to set up an account on YouTube videos and do every day- or as often as I could- a little video where I would pick up a subject for the day. It had to be simple, clear, concise in order for my friend to understand what I was talking about ( she says her English skills are a bit limited).

So I did a little video on the economical situation we are in. Fairly basic: I was just explaining the different root causes of our present recession. The reasons given were: bankers lending money to the wrong people; governements encouraging people to spend; central banks that kept interests low; housing market seen as a pension investment; developping countries expanding- and so on. Then I said that I would come to the eventual solutions in another video.

The feedback was instant. Some guy told me that although I was cute, I had no idea what I was talking about; we are in a depression he said and I should listen to Peter Schiff to learn my economics theories. I had “obviously no idea about the causes link”.  The rant was a tad longer than this, but if I was mildly amused by the reaction, I was definitely shocked by the violence of the retort and the inexactitude of the comments.

You see, I am a woman. In my video I tried to stay neutral and not give away what my thoughts were on the current situation. Although I believe we are seriously on the way to a depression- and a big one- I cannot bring myself to say so for two reasons: one is that a depression is officially a ” prolonged” recession, and a recession has to last on average 13 months. As the US have officially announced that this recession had started in december 2007, I don’t feel authorized to revoke their expertise to decide that we are now in a depression. And  two, actually I will not even say so in February- after the 13 months deadline- as it would simply mean that this recession is a tad longer than average, but not prolonged as yet. For that I would probably wait for a 16 months deadline- the length of the last long recession we had. Keep in mind please that the Great depression ( 1929-1933) lasted officially 4 years.

It doesn’t mean in any way that I believe we are not entering full blast in a depression. I actually do. But I can’t say we are in one yet- because the term would be incorrect.

Funnily enough Peter Schiff says the same…My commentator must have been asleep when Mr Schiff says the word ” recession” in his interviews. Or he’s throwing tomatoes at his tv/computer screen every time he says it, I don’t know. And I have to add that if I agree with Mr Schiff on a lot of his analysis, some of his views are changing quite fast and if you carefully listen to some comments made in the past, some of his views turned out to be wrong  ( the fall of the $ is still expected). It doesn’t mean he’s incompetent, but it is very difficult to predict the future and to be right ALL OF THE TIME. Look at Nouriel Roubini. As Mr Schiff, he did spot the credit crunch crisis way before a lot of people. But now his views are seen as wrong ( he’s in favour of the bailouts and thinks it’s the way to go). Gurus usually last as long as their analysis are seen as right. Then another one takes the throne.

As for the causes, remember, I was trying to be basic and concise. Of course I can go into deep details, such as the reasons why banks started lending to people who couldn’t afford a mortgage in the first place. Think Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, threats to the banks that wanted to refuse to play the game- and we can start digging from there. In my comments I was explaining how we were all to blame in the end as I believe it is time for everyone to take responsability. Blaming others is not going to change the future now but if we all take responsability, collectively, we can see a bigger picture appearing and try to decide where we stand and what we are going to do about it.

So…I realise how Youtube can be a fantastic tool for publicity and marketing – which I suspected already- but also what kind of double-edged sword it can be. It seems that most people watch/ listen to it distractively and the result is that they post comments that are inaccurate or stupid. My own experience was not too bad, but I wanted to see by myself how it worked. So I picked up a lot of videos about economics that I watched carefully- and then I read the comments. Most of them were insulting and started with: you don’t know what you’re talking about…, go and watch..( put a guru’s name here) and learn real economics. It was pathetic. The good comments- the ones that had a point and made sense- were usually explaining simply why they disagreed. They didn’t have the word ” moron” in them. But these were not the majority.

I took my video down. I had a few reasons to do so, but at the bottom of them was lingering feeling that  don’t want to be the butt of comments that were so depreciative. You see, telling me that I am cute when I’m talking work, that really killed me.

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