Ignorance isn’t always bliss

So how about that Brexit shocker yesterday?

Confession: I was pretty oblivious during the morning because I was being brain numbed at a ABAC briefing, then wafting around Northbridge School of Visual Arts trying on jewellery and admiring the art …

It was only when I asked DD how his day was going and he mentioned the diabolical state of his shares portfolio that I glanced at Tweetdeck and saw social media was in quite a tizz about the unimaginable happening … Britain voting to leave the EU.

Well, to be more accurate … all the old people in Britain wanting to leave. All the sensible young people wanted to stay. Not very often you get “sensible” and “young people” in the same sentence, is it?

A few days ago, Finland’s finance minister, Alexander Stubb, warned that the consequences of a British vote to leave the European Union (EU) would parallel the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, an event that triggered the global financial crisis.

Belatedly reading those ominous words gave me an almighty flashback to one of my most infamous blogs … “OMG there was a GFC.”

I wrote the post in 2011, then reduxed it a year later with an intro saying:

“Husband forwarded the original blog to all his business journalist mates and their faces went all Munch’s The Scream-looking as they read it. They wanted to know if it was a joke. No, Husband said, it wasn’t a joke. It was his life. And yet, somehow, we make this relationship work …”

Denial is a remarkable thing.

Anyways, here’s a refresher of the original blog post:

I just found out about the Global Financial Crisis. And I kind of wish I didn’t know. I’m all freaked out now. It was really, really bad. The entire world economy could have collapsed. And then what would have happened?

Husband brought home a movie called Too Big To Fail – which chronicles the US treasury’s fight to save the US banking system going under. We watched it last night and I was glued to the TV. (I think it helped that it had lots of big-name celebs in it – I have this weird crush on Bill Pullman – but the subject matter was pretty gripping too.) Halfway through, Husband asked if I was tired and wanted to go to bed. I replied, “No! I need to see what happens next …” He was a bit offended, because apparently he’s written lots of insightful features on the subject in his capacity as a business journalist. I try reading his insightful features, I do, but my brain freezes up and all I see is “blargle largle largle”. Give me a story about the state of Brad and Ange’s carefully crafted, media-savvy relationship and my brain starts working again. Deplorable but true.

What makes my complete non-awareness of the GFC particularly stunning is that I was living in New York when it all went down. And Husband was studying the whole shebang at business school (while I went slightly mad taking care of the Sprogs in a teeny-tiny apartment). Still, I somehow remained blithely unaware. I must have blocked my ears and gone “lah, lah, lah” every time he said the words ”stock market” and “trouble”. Also, we didn’t have a TV or radio at the time. I occasionally bought the New York Post, but mainly for its sensationalist crime stories (or the excellent ones about people keeping five panthers and six pythons in their one-bedroom apartments in the Bronx). And so we eventually returned to Australia – where things weren’t quite so bad – and I cheerily got on with my life. Not knowing how close we all came to losing everything. How close we could come again. My chest is getting all tight, I must stop thinking about it … too late … take deep breaths … it was three years ago … things will be fine … won’t they?

Like my ex, DD loves the stock market. Maybe it’s a guy thing. I don’t have the right constitution for gambling. I prefer to put my cash into the Sydney property market and be done with it. Sure, that could go totally belly up too, but at least I’ll still have a roof over my head.

Anyways, the stockmarket went pretty pear shaped yesterday.

The New York Times notes: “Britain’s vote to leave Europe sent global markets on a wild descent. The British pound plummeted by 10 percent, reaching levels not seen since 1985 — well below the value at the worst of the 2008 financial crisis. The euro dropped nearly 4 percent.

“Stock markets across Asia recoiled, with the major Japanese index, the Nikkei, down nearly 8 percent. As markets opened in Europe on Friday morning, the rout accelerated. Stocks in London were instantly down nearly 16 percent, shares in Frankfurt lost 10 percent, and the exchange in Paris was off 8 percent. Investors took refuge in the safest investments, bolstering the value of British government bonds and the Japanese currency.”

That all sounds terrifying, and makes me grateful I don’t have shares (or am on holiday in the UK, after the Commonwealth Bank suspended exchange on the UK pound).

But at least I’m not living in the UK with the consequences of the “Leave” win.

The bloke in the main pic is a good example. Adam didn’t think his vote was going to matter too much … so he voted “Leave” … now he’s “quite worried.”

*shakes head*

This is what Google search looked like immediately after the final votes for Brexit were tallied:

brexit

It makes me feel a little ashamed of my OMG GFC blog post, because it’s that sort of ignorance that lead to the “Leave” vote winning.

Though I’d like to think I’d have actually researched the GFC if I was required to vote on it.

Unlike all those poor sods in Britain who only bothered to Google what the EU was AFTER they’d voted to leave.

Song of the day: Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”

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4 thoughts on “Ignorance isn’t always bliss

  1. Yeah I was pretty surprised to see that. I mean, it’s one thing to vote to leave if you have good reasons to support that. But it’s completely another to vote without even knowing that you’re voting for and what the consequences are.

    I just hope the same thing doesn’t repeat in the US election. :/

  2. How do they know it was the people who voted to leave that did the googling? I’m pretty ignorant about the whole thing but democracy is democracy. I don’t like the anti-immigrant sentiment behind it though… and the fact that Trump supported it. That can’t be good.

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