May 8, 2009
Moving back to Delhi has meant that I now watch TV that is not Balika Vadhu and Bigg Boss. My mother usually has FRIENDS turned on when I get home. These days, Star World is showing the final season again. And this made me realise…
So FRIENDS wrapped up in 2004, right? And in the last few episodes Chandler and Monica buy a house in the suburbs and move there with two newly adopted infants. Hmmm.
So basically they bought a house in the suburbs at what was almost the peak of the housing bubble. And now the housing bubble has collapsed. It’s possible that their mortgage is underwater and they owe more than the house is worth. Not only that, they have to pay for kids. But even worse than that, look at their jobs. Chandler is in advertising, which is the first thing that gets hit in a recession. And Monica is a chef and relies on people putting discretionary expenditure, which is also just not happening in these harsh times. Unemployment therefore looks very likely. And they live in New York, where health insurance is very much employer-dependent (my uncle is avoiding early retirement for this very reason). So, to summarise:
- they’re paying much more in EMIs than their house is worth
- they’re probably unemployed
- and they have to take care of two small children
Their lives are truly miserable. Which means that there is actually hope for them – they now have a bright chance of getting on to a show on Colors.
September 27, 2008
Yesterday, Skimpy forwarded me this link, and immediately changed his tagline to “2 dollars. Why didn’t I bid for Lehman Brothers?”. This sparked the following conversation.
me: Look at it this wat
$2 = 93 rupees
with that you could buy a hummus and pita bread
and have some change left over
would you be happier owning Lehman?
Karthik: 11 11
me: or having hummus and pita bread
The original inspiration for using Lebanese fast food as a standard store of value came from this profound post by Kunal. Please read it.
Later on in that conversation, I brought up employee buyouts. But things quickly took a scatalogical and American-beer-bashing turn:
me: you know
at two dollars, why didn’t the employees buy Lehman?
would’ve beenfight to split the cost da
2K people together put together 2$ => each guy pays 0.1 cent
how do they pay that to each other?
me: in beer
Karthik: dei you don’t even get half a glass of beer for 2$
so what? each guy contributes a drop or what?
me: or they can deduct it from their PF
American beer is piss
me: each Lehman Europe banker contributes one drop of piss
that’s tough too
just one dro
me: sells it to Dick Fuld as Budweiser
It’s not that tough. They can use droppers or something.
September 17, 2008
In addition to ITC and UB becoming employers of choice, one further consequence of the investment banking meltdown is that Chetan Bhagat might soon be unemployed.
I can’t decide if this is good or bad. On the one hand, unemployment might mean he would start writing full time, and we would face the horrific prospect of a new Chetan Bhagat book every year. The horror!
On the other hand, it might force him to actually get a real and respectable job, like becoming a traveling salesman for Fair and Louwly in Coastal Andhra and South Andhra. True, he would probably be completely out of his depth at honourable work, but I’m sure even Chetan Bhagat can learn. And if that happened, he would have no time to write, thus sparing us all.
I feel that the pessimistic case is more likely, for the very reason I mentioned yesterday: in a depression, the vice economy does well. There is a lot more pain ahead.