When the market goes wild, people say the economy is like a roller coaster. And, frankly, I am sick and tired of this disgusting comparison. Someone has got to stick up for the inventor of roller coasters, my grandfather, Dr. Johann T. Rollercoaster.
And yes, laugh at his name if you must. It was changed at Ellis Island from the original Rollercoasterstein.
You see, the economy is nothing like a roller coaster. When the market drops, peoples’ money vanishes. When a roller coaster drops, the only thing that vanishes are your brain’s sadness receptors. Also, when a roller coaster goes up, coaster fans know it’s gonna go back down. But when the market goes up, money fans pretend it’s going to keep going up forever.
Plus, the stock market can make people rich. My grandfather, Dr. Rollercoaster, never profited off his invention. To be fair, he intended the roller coaster to be a form of rapid, short-distance transit and potentially a cure for smallpox, so he gave all the rights away.
But the most important difference is that no one has ever been hurt by a roller coaster, except for the dozens of people each year who are hurt in roller coaster accidents.
The fact is, economic downturns are cyclical, but you don’t hear the inventor of the wheel, Pete Wheel, getting slandered every time capitalism takes a nose dive. You know what else takes nose dives? Dolphins. But the discoverer of dolphins, Wesley Dolphin, doesn’t have his family name dragged through the mud after every financial disaster.
Besides, lots of things go up and down, not just roller coasters. Yo-yos, bungee jumpers … roller coasters. OK, I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for the economy than roller coasters, but I do know two things. One, my grandfather, Dr. Rollercoaster, was the best man I’ve ever met. Or, he would’ve been if he hadn’t died in a roller coaster accident 40 years before I was born. And two, don’t invest your money in roller coasters. The market for amusement rides has taken a real Dolphin.
And remember, a stock market crash can ruin millions of lives. A roller coaster crash can ruin maybe a dozen lives, tops.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.