Why the ghost of 2008 haunts us in 2022

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All week, there are events that have appeared in the news under the slogan “This has not happened since 2007/2008”.

The 10-year Treasury yield briefly topped 4%, a level not seen since 2008. That move helped push mortgage rates to their highest level since — wait for it — July 2007, to 6.7%. As the market collapsed earlier this week, an apparently devastated London banker told the Financial Times: “I was worried at one point this morning that it was the beginning of the end. It wasn’t a Lehman moment. But it came close.”

The timing of all these events is a bit scary indeed: today, September 29, it will be 14 years since stock markets around the world crashed, beginning the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression.

With all this gloom, it’s only natural to wonder if history is about to repeat itself.

To be clear: the market fully recovered, even if it took years. And in many ways, the economic and financial distress going on around the world is not exactly a repeat of what was before the Great Recession. It’s a different beast now.

But precisely because of the scars of 2008, still strong memories for many, economists and analysts get nervous when things go as badly as they have in recent weeks.

Right now, the prevailing mood is fear. Economies hobbled by inflation and rising borrowing costs are vulnerable to economic shocks, whether those shocks come from a catastrophic hurricane, or a superpower declaring war on a neighbor, or a radical unfunded tax scheme. Or, heaven forbid, a revived pandemic.

All of this means that there aren’t many good places for investors to put their money right now. Stocks and bonds are both bearish, and many analysts say the market could be volatile until inflation gets under control (which, if we fall into a recession, could happen pretty soon…not a great silver lining, I know).

If there’s one lesson to cling to from the Great Recession, it’s not to panic. According to my colleague Jeanne Sahadi:

Let’s say you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 at the beginning of 1981. That money would grow to nearly $1.1 billion by the end of March 2021. But if you missed the five best trading days in those 40 years, it would. only approximately $676,000 has been raised.

In other words: hang on tight, friends, and try not to stare at your 401(k) balance sheet for the foreseeable future.

Stocks fell on Thursday, giving up Wednesday’s big gains and sending the Dow back into the bearish market.

The S&P 500, one of the broadest measures of the health of Corporate America, fell 2.1% to a new low for the year. The Dow and S&P 500 are once again not far from their lowest levels since November 2020.

Heckuva way to end the third quarter, huh? The stock market really had a promising start to the quarter in July. But fears of inflation, rising rates, rising bond yields and recession returned with a vengeance in August and September.

Following a grand tradition of Corporate Rebranding nonsense, Johnson & Johnson is bringing all of its consumer health products under a newly created parent company.

Soon, Band-Aid, Tylenol, Benadryl and Johnson’s baby powder will be sold under the umbrella brand identity “Kenvue.”

That’s pronounced “Ken,” like doll, “see.”

Here’s the deal: Johnson & Johnson, which owns those labels, is in the process of splitting into two companies: one focused on medical devices and drugs, the other on consumer health products, colleague Nathaniel Meyersohn reports.

J&J is keeping its familiar name for its larger pharmaceutical business, but it needed something new for the smaller consumer.

The company said Wednesday that it had landed on Kenvue, a portmanteau of “Ken,” an English word for knowledge used primarily in Scotland, and “vue,” a reference to sight.

“Kenvue” is a moniker that came up with a small team at J&J working with a naming agency. The goal was to be memorable. And, crucially, clearing trademarks in more than 100 markets and “exceeding language and cultural performances in 89 languages ​​and dialects.”

The company also released Kenvue’s new logo: white letters on a green background, with the limbs of the letter “K” resembling a sideways heart.

What does it mean? Nothing, and that’s the point.

Corporations go for names that are completely clean. There is no possibility of negative connotation, because it is spoken. It does not, as far as I can tell, resemble a zinceria in any other language. Kenvue is not offensive. bloodless It’s corporate brand tofu.

“It’s really just a holding company behind all these other brands,” one expert told Nathaniel. “They want a name that will fade into the background and the brands will stick out.”

(Mission accomplished. I already forgot the new name and just typed it 40 seconds ago.)


The best review I can give about the new brand is that it’s forgettable. Other companies haven’t stuck the landing with new names.

Netflix quickly backtracked in 2011 after trying to rebrand its DVD mail service as “Qwikster”. Recently, Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group merged in 2020 under the collective name “Stellantis”, which is still the name of the company, but I still think it’s something you should ask your doctor if you have symptoms of seasonal depression.

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