The Spectator‘s Matthew Parris explains “the world economic crisis in three minutes” by means of a comedy sketch. Realizing that many of our readers are pressed for time, I’ve provided some excerpts
Joe Citizen (to the Joneses): That’s a nice big brick you own.
The Joneses: It’s for sale. The kids have flown the nest and we’re downsizing. We’d take £10 for our brick. What are you asking for your smaller one?
Joe Citizen (to himself): £10? Pricey for a brick, but I guess mine must be worth more than I realised too. The market’s obviously on the up. (To the Joneses) I’d sell mine for £8.
The Joneses (conferring): Brick prices must be rising faster than we thought. If his is worth £8, ours must be worth more than £10. (To Joe) We’ve raised our asking price to £20.
So it goes for a bit until:
Jill Jones (to her husband): We’re buying for £100 and selling for £200 so we’ve got £100 to spend. Let’s invest in bricks — buy-to-let, maybe? We’re in a rising market here. EXEUNT the Joneses.
Joe Citizen (alone): As I’m selling for £100 and buying for £200, I’m short of £100. I’ll need a mortgage…
ENTER Mr Moneybags
Mr Moneybags: A mortgage, did you say? What’s your security?
Joe Citizen: The brick I’m buying from Mr and Mrs Jones.
Moneybags: What’s it worth?
Joe Citizen: About £200.
Moneybags: Surely not. Let’s ask. (Calls) Ms Dreamhomes! Can you do us a valuation?
ENTER: Ms Dreamhomes, accompanied by Messrs Ballpark-Estimate and Whatam-Ibid.
Ms Dreamhomes: Delighted. (Announces) What do you say, chaps?
Mr Ballpark-Estimate (inspects brick): I’m pleased to confirm that on the basis of an external examination alone this does appear to be a brick of the larger sort, brick-shaped, of reddish colour, and apparently made of baked clay; though as I am unable to gain access to its interior I cannot guarantee its composition. Worth I’d say about £180. Errors and omissions excepted. My invoice for an astonishingly large sum follows by post.
It continues a bit after that, but you get the idea.
James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council. Hat tip: King Banian.