Ok, this is getting ridiculous. We thought it was kind of cute when a finance professor analysed what the beat of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” meant for the markets and even when people suggested that AC/DC’s renewed popularity signified that we were in a recession. (Wouldn’t you know it, just a few weeks after that argument began circulating, the government said we were in a recession.) But there’s no way David Bowie and his innovative Bowie bonds securitization are responsible for the financial apocalypse we’ve been experiencing.
Rolling Stone: According to a BBC Today host, it was the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust himself, who opened the flood gates for the current economic problems, all thanks to his “Bowie Bonds.” Back in 1997, Bowie issued “Bowie Bonds” as a way of getting his royalty money up front. He sold bonds of his future royalties to his fans for an immediate sum of money, figuring they’d be more patient about waiting for the royalties, plus it’d give them a stake in Bowie’s catalogue.
Economically, the term for this action is “securitization.” The article speculates that banks were inspired by Bowie’s foresight and started to do the same thing, except with mortgages instead of Hunky Dory. The plan was so successful for banks that they lowered the bar on who got loans, figuring a deadbeat would be the problem of whoever scooped up the security, or the bundle of mortgages. Repeat this and multiply it by several thousand and you’re faced with one of the main reasons for the current recession.
We asked a friend of ours who works in real estate — and knows a lot more about these economic matters than we do — and he insists that “securitization” was taking place on Wall Street way before David Bowie masterminded his supposed scheme to cause a worldwide recession. In fact, the practice dates back to the 1970s, when “the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created the transaction using a mortgage-backed security.”
Isn’t it time that we leave musicians alone? They have enough problems getting people to buy their albums without being blamed for the downfall of the U.S. economy.
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