Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hoarding and panicking

Watching coverage of the financial crisis some hours ago, I heard one or two commentators say that people are "hoarding cash." The verb "to hoard" has a somewhat old-fashioned ring to my ears, conjuring up images of misers in Victorian novels mooning over their gold and silver. Presumably what it means in this context is that people are withdrawing cash from their banks and storing it (or secreting it) in their homes. If this is indeed occurring, it suggests that "panic" (from the Greek panikos: of sudden fear, as supposedly inspired by the god Pan [to quote my dictionary]) may be the right word to apply to the current situation. (Alternatively, "people are hoarding cash" could just be a dramatic way of saying "people are not spending as freely as they ordinarily do.")

On a somewhat although not totally unrelated note, the PBS news program 'Worldfocus' made its debut in this area today. The idea -- a half-hour program drawing on the reporting of various news organizations -- is a sound one, though I thought the first show's execution and content were uneven. It did include a good report on the impact of rising food prices on the poor (and the not-so-poor) in Kenya.

No comments: