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Chain reaction

Friday evening, in Portugal, media merged in Portugal. The “Contemporâneos” (a sort of Portuguese 21st century Monty Pyton) made a great sketch. A parody to a Christmas solidarity song called “Salvem os ricos” (meaning “save the rich&rdquoWinking. If you’re reading this in English, you probably won’t be able to follow the inspired lyrics, but they managed to get some very nice guests and the subject couldn’t be more updated: the bailouts to troubled banks caught by the financial crisis.

A few moments after broadcast, the video had been uploaded to YouTube, generously linked in Twitter, posted extensively in blogs and brought to the homepage of the left-wing political party Bloco de Esquerda. Today, the Portuguese newspaper Público delivered the cherry on top of the cake: an opinion article by Rui Tavares drawing on the sketch. In just a couple of days, the Contemporâneos and their sketch reached almost everybody in Portugal. You can see it here, while we can still have a laugh on the crisis:

But is it as simple as they sing? Is our tax money being spent to “save the millionaires”? Would it have been better to let our banks go into bankruptcy?

Our economy breaths through the financial system and it thrives on thrust. If half the people would want to withdraw their deposits, each and every bank would instantly crumble. Most people would lose their money because all the financial institutions depend on each other. Our complex economy is based on interdependence. Without deposits, the banks can’t lend. Without money, people and companies don’t buy. Without sales, companies lay off people and their stock becomes junk. Without work nor investment a vicious cycle would emerge for our doom. That’s what happened in the 1930’s and that’s the risk we face. Should the governments let it happen? I don’t think so.

This is obviously a remarkable time for inspired comedians and opportunist politicians. This is also a great time to go deeper into understanding what’s happening. This video (which I found at a friend’s blog) isn’t as entertaining as the other, but it truly captures the movement of what’s going on. I hope that what the governments are doing is enough to prevent a chain reaction...