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Opinion

"Pre-privatization": Pre-pare for better times

It seems that no area of life can remain untouched in this financial downturn – not even the English language.

The events of the past two years have thrown up plenty of clichés – such as "toxic" mortgages and "credit crunch" – but commentators in the US still find it very difficult to use one particular word: nationalization. As the concept of US banks being taken under state control moved ever closer to reality during February, an interesting term crept into industry parlance – "pre-privatization". A bank is not being nationalized – it is simply in pre-privatization.

If only we had adopted this strategy earlier in our coverage this slump – sorry, pre-recovery – period could have been a lot more upbeat. Companies are not loss-making, they are simply pre-profitable. Companies are not downsizing, they are just in a pre-growth state. Markets are not volatile, they are just pre-stable. And the endless regulatory initiatives that have been cooked up to sort things out are not completely ineffective, they are just in their pre-impact phase.

So don’t worry, things aren’t really bad, they are just pre-good. But if that was actually true there wouldn’t be quite so many financiers in post-employment...

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