The Tragedy of Citigroup, in III Acts

February 23, 2009 in Finance

Deus ex machina, literally "god from the machine," refers to a literary device in which a miraculous turn of events occur, solving a conflict.

The origin of the phrase is from ancient Greek theatre (though, they probably said it in Greek), in which actors portraying gods were lowered to the stage via crane (hence, a god from the machine).  The god was usually nothing more than a plot device, showing up just in time to rescue the hero with special powers or divine judgement.  

 

Examples:

21 September 2008: Goldman Sachs is allowed to rush through the bank holding company conversion process!  Deus ex machina!

14 October 2008: The FDIC guarantees all bank-issued debt! Deus ex machina!

23 November 2008: The Treasury announces they will guarantee Citigroup's losses! Deus ex machina!

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