Zeitgeist analysis, 24 May 2009

Bank is jumping back up the rankings in this week's word cloud, up from number 29 to number 15. And financial is up seven places to 11.

Apart from that, no major moves at the top. US moves up from 4 to 3, market is up slightly and government down one (reinforcing last week's move, but still slightly too early for the Randians to declare victory).

But the biggest move of the week is a new entry, representative at number 44. I spent some time trying to figure out why this is - there is not a lot of news about representative agents or bank representatives. But what there is, is a listing of all US Representatives and their fax numbers, in a not-very-Internet-savvy (or economics-savvy) Ron Paul campaign to abolish the Federal Reserve.

UK readers may remember when faxyourmp.com became popular - about eight years ago. After at least a hundred thousand faxes in three years, they gradually switched to email - and their successor site, writetothem.com (to which one of my companies donates data) has been using email for the last four or five years at least. I do hope that the US catches up; although if it's only Ron Paul who is still using faxes, he is welcome to stay behind a bit longer. In related news, Senate is also a new entry at 264, because of course there are fewer senators on that page than representatives.

Some words dropping down the tables: trade down about 50 to 98, GDP and health both down a few dozen places at around 130, and economics down 74 to 172. Other than that, power and energy are both down but with oil and well up, it doesn't seem to portend much. Unemployment and sales are both down substantially, which could indicate that public spending is starting to save jobs and/or crowd out the private sector, but probably doesn't. Contraction is down 416 places into the 600s, which I take as a positive indicator.

Other new entries are India at 380, rating and prediction around 470 and emerging, pension and party in the 500s. A few other countries also appear afresh: Japan at 633, Hungarian (yes really) at 646, British at 704, Russian at 821, Japanese at 826 and (ahem) Texas at 837. Chinese is down 426 places to 872 and is overtaken by London at 870.

Most of the people and companies of the last few weeks are dropping out of the news: Obama is down 88 to 191, Geithner back in but only at 816, Bernanke gone. GM is down 318 to 777, Chrysler down 379 to 697 and although Bloomberg remains well-placed as always (up 61 at 493) I don't think that really counts as either company or person, even though it's both. And Adrian, which looks like a person, is actually from Adrian College, whence many of the WAIS posts come (WAIS, you might recall, is the grandly titled World Association of International Studies which has an active blog containing its name in the footer of every posting).

Trillion is up a little (87 up at 538), billion down 4 at 37 and million up 3 at 57.

Now what's up this week? Interest (up 67 to 28) as well as real, ratesmarkets, state and debt. Investment is up a hundred places and capital up 40, central up 160 (probably to go with the rise in bank) and inflation up 68. Assets and income both jumping, and Fed up 136 to 139 despite Ron Paul's clearly effective campaign. Must try harder, Ron! Recovery up 73 is a nice sign, and fiscal up 190 probably a neutral one. Monetary and California are both surging up the charts - I guess most economists prefer the former, which would just confirm how out of touch they are with the rest of the world. I attended a seminar today where moving to California was given as the canonical example of a utility-increasing (and evolutionary-fitness-increasing) action that an economic agent could take.

Consumption, trading and reserve are all up substantially, as is the dollar, currency and negative. I'm not sure I can make a story out of those, but online is up, technology is up and Internet is a new entry. There's certainly a theme there for anyone who wants to pick it out.

One final note, just to scare anyone who thinks the crisis is coming to its end. Gold is up 486 places: cash, buying, long-term and stocks all up, but is that enough to combat the apocalysm of the hoarders? Maybe so, but death at 886 is where my eye alights and that seems an apposite place to stop.


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