The Neglected Science of Falconomics
As the economic crisis drags on, it's time for us to start to giving a more thorough examination as to the causes and the potential remedies. How can we pull ourselves out of this and position ourselves for real economic growth again? Most economists have focused on things like leverage and the bursting of the housing bubble and these are indeed important issues to address. However, economists have failed to look at one of the key elements of growth that allowed us to experience such an unprecedented era of prosperity to begin with: Falco!
You see, what most people don't realize is that Falco was largely responsible for the economic growth of the '80s and the '90s. Of course, many people remember Falco's big American hit, "Rock Me Amadeus", but most people have forgotten his wide-spread influence all over the world. Falco was not only popular in his native Austria, but also in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and Norway, just to name a few nations. His influence allowed him to eventually cause major political and economic currents in much of the Western world. Falco set the stage for the end of the Cold War and an era of peace and he initiated an era of economic prosperity that would last for decades.
Falco was a unique artist who combined a charming, slick-hairdo, with quality music, and over-the-top silliness. There were others who had similarly successful musical formulas such as Adam Ant, but none were quite as remarkable as Falco. Not coincidentally, Falco's first single, "Der Kommissar", was released in Spring of 1982, during the height of the Early 80's Recession. It had been the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but by the end of the year, the economy was starting to recover once again in no small part due to the emergence of Falco.
One reason Falco's "Der Kommissar" had such a profound impact was that is quite possibly, the most awesomely bad music video of all-time! I mean, seriously --- it's Falco and he's pretending to run while standing in front of video footage of police cars chasing him in the background. Sometimes, he inexplicably stops yet the cars keep moving. It really makes no sense at all! That's why we loved it! Plus, the song was actually very catchy!
"Der Kommissar" managed to awake the pessimistic masses and made people realize, "hey, if a stupid music video can make me this happy, maybe we can get this economy going again!" "Der Kommissar" was so profound, it spawned an English-language knockoff almost immediately by the band After the Fire. This helped spread the wonders of Falco to those who did not speak the German language and were merely confused by Falco's video. Think of it this way --- if Falco was Jesus, After the Fire was the John the Baptist. Of course, all of this merely set the stage for the next great chapter in Falconomics: Rock Me Amadeus.
Falco's new miracle showed off his spectacular silliness as he walked through eclectic crowds of people dressed in 18th Century garb and rode his motorcycle to a biker bar dressed as "Amadeus" himself. So impressive was his effort, the song catapulted to #1 in charts across the world, including the United States. Of course, "Rock Me Amadeus" was only the tip of the iceberg --- it was going to take more than that to set the stage for an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.
In 1986, sensing that more needed to be done to ensure the livelihood of the Western world, Falco released the video for "The Sound of Musick." Indeed, the video was so great, it would be nearly impossible for an observer like myself to articulate it into words and one can only experience the sheer wonder goodness of it by watching for yourself:
Of course, one man can only do so much and economic events are often years in the making. Falco had helped reversed the Early 80's recession, but it would take many more thoroughly ridiculous music videos to set the world up for the Internet boom and the prosperity of the 90's. Despite a 1987 market crash, Falco refused to quit fighting and released the video for his song "Emotional":
This was followed in short order by the groundbreaking video and completely inexplicably awesome "Wiener Blut" in 1988:
"Wiener Blut" ended up being the last needed impetus that led to the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and helped set the stage for the collapse of the Soviet Union. This ushered in an era of peace that lasted until 2001, when Americans decided to vote into office George W. Bush.
Falco's videos were a source of inspiration, helping achieve optimism and a renewed spirit amongst the people of the Western world, which then led to the boom of the Internet era. Unfortunately, tragedy struck in 1998 when Falco suffered fatal injuries from an auto crash in the Dominican Republic.
A mere three years after Falco's death, the Internet boom came to an abrupt end. Without the inspiration provided by Falco, companies used increased leverage and financial institutions came up with increasingly exotic instruments in order to boost their earnings. All of this ultimately culminated in one of the worst busts in world history, beginning in 2007 and dragging on through the entirety of 2008.
As we struggle to clean up the mess created over the past decade, we must ask ourselves, how can we get back to the basics and create real economic growth? How can we end this age of neverending pessimism and make people enthusiastic about creating the economic growth we need to get back on our feet? While we can't bring Falco back from the grave, we can remember all that he taught us.
Instead of throwing more money at financial institutions, perhaps policymakers should set out to discover an artist that can inspire us like Falco! It will be a difficult task, but we can all do our part by engaging in completely silly activities like dressing in 18th century garb, wearing pirate hats, singing ridiculous songs aloud in our everyday life, failing to make sense in front of our peers, slicking our hair back, and of course, entertaining the masses. This will bring back our prosperity!
Just like Renaissance artists inspired Renaissance thinkers, thereby, creating an unprecedented era of rational thought, science, and progress --- economists would be wise to not forget the influence of the great Falco on the economic boom of the '90s!