JP Morgan explains the euro crisis with lego

By Felix Salmon
September 6, 2011

9yrold2.jpg

This chart comes from a Michael Cembalest’s research note today. The key is in there too. I’m not making this up:

  1. The toreador in a floppy hat, and the F1 driver with his helmet, represent Spain, Italy and the rest of the Euro Periphery.
  2. The three men with helmets, shields, and medieval weaponry represent the CDU, CSU and FDP parties in Germany.
  3. The blue-and-white sailor boy is Finland. Obvs.
  4. The woman with an oversized carrot and her friend in overalls with a shovel represent the Social Democrats and Greens.
  5. Wotan represents the Bundesbank.
  6. The piggy bank is the IMF.
  7. The grey-haired Banque chap is the ECB.
  8. The chap in the red bib is Poland.
  9. The artists are France.
  10. The angry chef, the sweeper with a broom, the airline pilot, and the rest of the motley crew at bottom left, represent EU taxpayers in Core countries.
  11. The storm troopers are the EU Commission and Euro Group Finance Ministers, chaired by Jose Manuel Barroso and Jean- Claude Juncker.
  12. The monocled banker and his assistant are EU bondholders and shareholders.

iceland.tiff Full credit here is given to “Peter Cembalest, who specializes in conceptualization of such phenomena”; I assume that Peter (age 9) helped out too with the Icelandic bonus extra, for people who make it to page three. But Iceland sadly didn’t make the cut as one of the “12 players in the EMU Debt Crisis most likely to affect policy from here”.

Cembalest does at one point feel the need to explain what he’s doing here:

If today’s diorama analysis borders on the absurd, so does maintaining the fiction that accumulation of massive public and private sector claims in Europe can somehow be engineered away.

Still, I like the idea of sitting all the key European players in a room with a box of lego and telling them to work things out that way. The results couldn’t really be more farcical than those of the EU bank stress tests.

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