Yet another concept that is better expressed in German

This time around, it’s not a ridiculous compound, but a single word: “Blase.” It’s the word used to refer to a financial “bubble,” but it also has another meaning: “blister.” The advantages of “blister” over “bubble” for describing the financial phenomenon in question are manifold. A financial bubble sounds wholesome and fun, as though financiers are blowing soap bubbles in the park. Eventually they’ll pop, but why dwell on that? If we believed that there was a financial blister underway, by contrast, there’d be much less metaphorical incentive to let nature take its course — once it got to a certain point, it would need to be lanced in order to avoid an uncontrolled bursting that could lead to infection. Further, the metaphor of a blister is more evocative of the origin of the phenomenon, pointing as it does toward an excessive amount of friction, rubbing a part of the financial markets raw and causing it to become inflamed. A financial blister in the housing market, for instance, would not indicate that the housing market was doing especially well, but instead that an unsustainable amount of work is being demanded of it.

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2 Responses to “Yet another concept that is better expressed in German”

  1. vrgl Says:

    Thus concept-better-expressed-in-German is the key to understanding Beyond the Pleasure Principle

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I’ll keep an eye out.


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