Representation of the Credit Crisis


Above is Part 1 of a visual representation of the origina of the credit crunch. Apart from explaining it very well, the money shot (as it were) comes near the end of Part 1 (Part 2 is here), when the people who took out the so-called sub-prime mortgages are represented. And what do they look like?

They have twice as many kids as the “normal” borrowers; they smoke; and they are fat.

Fascinating. Coming from a large family myself (I’m one of seven kids, and we weren’t Catholic), I should be offended, but I’m also aware that there’s a trend in the UK for the wealthier family to be a larger family. Owning a bigger house, a big people carrier and/or a 4×4 usually goes together with a couple of additional kids: it’s an example of conspicuous consumption, which has always been the way that people show off their wealth.

This beautifully visualised piece ends up giving the impression that the credit crunch is the fault of the fertile, fat, smokers – which is also interesting, because (of course) it’s not. It ends up being a brilliant visualisation of the ways in which the media studies key concept of representation is inseparable from the other concept of values and ideology.