Not The K-Word!
On October 9, 2008, The Economist published an article called “Kreppanomics,” detailing Iceland’s then-recent financial meltdown. “One word on every tongue in Iceland these days is kreppa. Normally it means to be ‘in a pinch’ or ‘to get into a scrape’, but when it is applied to the economy, it becomes ‘financial crisis,’” the article began. “In time kreppa may become the word that conjures up the disastrous meltdown that is now taking place in the country’s economy.”
Indeed, The Economist was right. This post-crash buzzword went on to appear in almost every single article and blog post about Iceland’s financial crisis and its lingering effects. Under the premise that the frequency of kreppa-related stories is a reflection of the state of the economy, Arion bank’s department of research and analysis teamed up with Fjölmiðlavaktin (“The media watch”) to track this (hackneyed) word in the local print and broadcast media.
In a nod to The Economist’s R-Word Index (“R” being for recession), Arion bank calls this economic indicator of theirs ‘K-orðs vísitalan’ or “The K-Word Index.” And although it says nothing about the context in which the word kreppa is being used, the bank believes that the decrease in the frequency of the word indicates that the economy is on its way to recovery.
Almost exactly six years after The Economist ran its rather prescient article, the accompanying graph would have us believe that things are looking up (but of course it’s also quite possible that the media is sleeping and/or simply really, really tired of the K-word).