Today we have witnessed the engineered bailout of America’s fourth largest bank Wachovia (WB), failure to pass the government’s rescue plan, and the largest point drop for the Dow in history.
In ancient Greek tradgedies there was a plot device known as “Deus ex machina.” This literally means “God from a machine.” Man would get himself into a insoluable crisis and a god was lowered onto the stage using machinery to quickly resolve the situation.
In recent weeks things have gone from bad to worse to unimaginably horrendous. Readers of this blog know that I like to be optimistic, but at some point you start to wonder. Short of a deus ex machina, what can save the (financial) world?
In modern times, Deus ex machina has taken on a negative connotation. It’s considered an amateurish way to resolve a situation since it doesn’t do justice to the conflict and basically requires suspension of disbelief. Who would believe that a seemingly inextricable mess could be resolved quickly and painlessly?
Literary criticism aside, I don’t think too many people would complain about a deus ex machina for our current situation.
Full Disclosure: No position in any of the securities mentioned.