“Put your hands up! This is the financial markets” Crisis or not ?

By Victoria Collins

“We’re not in 2008, we’re not in 2008, we’re not in…” – The title of an email I received from the French financial paper, Les Echos, Thursday afternoon. The adjoining article is about the bearish plunging of the French market which fell 4,05% again on Thursday, having lost 15% since the beginning of the year and 25% since its peak in April 2015.

The mantra-like title of the email perfectly sums up the positive attitude we’re trying to talk ourselves into, while being reminded of our not so distant past. Things have changed though right? There’s been a lot of work to rein in finance and banking and we’re moving on… right?

Maybe we’re not in 2008, maybe there have been advances in financial regulation–but something has not changed – the ability of financial markets to make us jittery. I’m reminded of a talk by Greece’s former Prime Minister George Papandreou on European democracy. He recounted his experience of EU-level negotiations in 2010, when market movements against Greece pressured leaders into taking tough decisions and the resultant policy responses impacted the country badly.

“This time it was not the military, but the markets, that put a gun to our collective heads,” he said.

Are the markets still pointing a gun at our heads?

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