Sunday, March 22, 2009

Welcome to Fuffland!

In the unfolding global financial collapse, it is not just our accounts and balance sheets that come up short, but our language as well. What do you call a bunch of liar loans packaged into toxic assets and placed on the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve as collateral for rescue loans? J,K. Galbraith has proposed the term “Bezzle,” taking it to mean the eternal ebb and flow of questionable transactions within an economic cycle. Rational actors cut corners during easy times when they know no-one is looking, and then play nice again when the times change and someone starts paying attention again.

But I believe that the phenomenon we are observing is something different: we need a word that describes the artifacts generated in response to irrational actors who demand to be fooled. As the old saying goes, “A fool and his money are soon parted” – at the fool's own insistence, no less! If the deer comes out of the forest and walks up to the hunter, it is not proper hunting, and this is not proper con artistry or grift or embezzlement or any other term we use to describe proper works of evil. If the victim, at the sight of the economic predator, goes into doggie submission, we must stop discussing the phenomenon in terms of conflict and consider whether what we are observing might be some strange instance of symbiosis.

I am Russian, and so I tend to use my Russian background to look for answers to questions big and small. Sometimes this works rather well for me. It seems that the Russians are better-equipped to survive financial collapse than just about anyone else. They have formidable reserves of gold and foreign currency to soften the downward slide. They have a dwindling but still sizable endowment of things the world still wants, even if at temporarily reduced prices. They have plenty of timber and farmland and other natural resources, and can become self-sufficient and decouple themselves economically should they choose to do so. They have high-tech weaponry and a nuclear deterrent in case other nations get any crazy ideas. After all the upheavals, they have ended up with a centrally-managed, natural resource-based, geographically contiguous realm that is not overly dependent on global finance. Yes, the Russian consumer sector is crashing hard, and many Russians are in the process of losing their savings yet again, but they have managed to survive without a consumer sector before, and no doubt will again.

Be that as it may, because as far as our own welfare is concerned the subject of Russian economic survival will be little more than academic. Perhaps Russia will thrive, all the way on the other side of the globe, just like it did while we wallowed in the Great Depression; how could that be helpful to us, in our predicament? Well, it turns out that Russia has something to offer that should be to our great advantage in coming to terms with financial collapse, and it is something that it is perfectly willing to share with us, because it is just a matter of learning some new vocabulary. All we need to do is borrow a single word, and learn to understand the concept it signifies.

Yes, the Russians actually have a word for precisely the thing that has bewitched us, first accounting for an ever-increasing share of our gross domestic product, and is now responsible for our ever-larger financial black hole. That word is “фуфло” /fufló/ when applied to a quantity of something, and "фуфел" /fúfel/ when applied to a singular item. This word has the obscure English cognate “fuffle,” which the Oxford English Dictionary dates to the early XVI century but fails to define adequately. I suspect that this word has been in circulation in many languages ever since some Protoindoeuropean simpleton showed up at some archaic fair and, being none too wise, bartered his meager trade goods in exchange for what thereafter became known as a fuffle. At that point, his story may have gone two different ways. Either he could have discovered that he'd been handed a fuffle, chased after the unlucky fuffller, and summarily ran him through with a pointed stick (positive outcome) or he could have stumbled back to his village proudly displaying his prize, and perhaps even got his entire tribe to acquire a taste for fuffles (negative outcome). In the latter case, the fuffle-addled tribe could never grasp the meaning of the word “fuffle,” because doing so would have resulted in some painful cognitive dissonance. (Perhaps this psychological mechanism accounts for the fact the Anglo-Saxon tribe still has the vestigial word but no longer remembers its meaning.)

A fuffle is an artful fake, an artifact specifically made to fool, beguile, seduce, or intimidate people into paying for it. Ideally, the initial transaction serves as the basis of a permanent arrangement, with the victim roped into an installment plan, which keeps the payments flowing even after the fuffle itself has crumbled into a pile of dust. An even better fuffle is one that grows over time. Since a fuffle is, in essence, a fake, its useful properties, should it have any, are largely irrelevant, and so its abstract (which is to say, financial) properties come forth as being the essential ones. The most important such property is, quite obviously, size, and indeed fuffles tend to get bigger and bigger over time. This is a telltale feature of fuffles that makes them easier to identify: if something gets bigger and bigger over time while delivering the same or lesser value, then it is quite likely to be a fuffle. Also, fuffles breed: as a fuffle gets larger and larger, it produces offspring of other fuffles, which also grow. Examples come from many realms.

Take, for example, suburban and exurban houses. For a time, people couldn't get enough of them, and at one point fully half of the US population was living in them. Their square footage had increased far past what even a large family might actually need, while at the same time their cost had exceeded what an average family could afford. In the final act of suburban expansion, these fuffled houses begat fuffled mortgages: fraudulent loans clearly not intended to be repayable over their entire term but quickly rolled over into some other fraudulent monstrosity. And fuffled mortgages begat fuffled equity-backed securities. And these begat fuffled government bailouts.

Another example is America's favorite fufflemobile: the SUV. This is a truck chassis made to superficially resemble a gigantic passenger car, with none of the advantages of either and all the disadvantages of both. These were advertised as safer than cars, while they are some of the most unsafe passenger vehicles ever sold. These also grew in size and cost, while begetting fuffled auto loans, and eventually leading to fuffled automaker bailouts.

Or take the gigantic fuffle of guaranteed student loans, which enabled fuffle-like growth in college tuitions. Following a few years of flipping burgers or serving lattes the value of the diploma may be zero, and most of the knowledge it implied either forgotten or obsolete, but repayments continue, sometimes until the poor student's death. And if a period of financial hardship results in a deferment, interest and fees are piled on top of the original loan, allowing it to balloon to an astronomic size that bears no relation to either the value of the diploma or the expected earnings of the graduate. To keep the payments flowing, income and social security payments can be garnished.

My last example is private retirement based on IRA and 401k retirement funds. Unlike proper retirement systems, which transfer a percentage of earnings from working-age people directly to retirees, this fuffled scheme takes these earnings and invests them in some fuffles, expecting these fuffles to grow like they always do, making the retirees well off upon retirement. The non-fuffled fallback, as a lot of retired fufflers are about to discover, is to come to rely on your grown children for support, awkward though that may be.

It may be clear to us that fuffles must be eradicated. But it is almost impossible for a society that has for so long and to such an extent put its faith in fuffles to part with the notion that they are valuable and accept the notion that they are a lot worse than worthless. And so they grow and grow, until they swallow up the entire country. At some point last year, in a vain effort to avert financial collapse, the Federal Reserve started accepting fuffles (which they called “troubled assets”) as collateral for fuffled rescue loans to insolvent financial institutions. Thus, the assets column of the Fed's balance sheet is now loaded with fuffles. And next, we have the US Treasury poised to create the next wave of fuffles. These are US Treasury securities, backed by whatever remains of the full faith and credit of the US Government, but destined to be sold not to investors (who have no taste for any more fuffles) but, in a truly incestuous move, to the same old Federal Reserve Bordello of Blood! They are calling this “quantitative easing.” A better term would be “qualitative fuffling:” the financial snake is finally eating its own tail. The Fed will place these fuffles on its balance sheet as assets, and in return issue prolific quantities of our new national currency: the US Fuffle. Like all fuffles, the US Fuffle will grow by leaps and bounds, by sprouting ever more denominations.

"How much do I owe you for this latte, dear graduate?"
"Well, Sir, that will be six trillion fuffles, if you please."

Welcome to Fuffland, people! Enjoy your stay!


Anonymous said...

English in not my first language. Not sure is it helping or not, but long ago I've noticed that English language is corrupted too.
It is funny (to me) when I read the phrase; moral hazard, than I ask myself what the moral has to do with hazard. Or, now, bonuses are retention payments or retention bonuses.
There is myriad of examples. My guess is that ruling class and their MSM servants, trying to obfuscate reality with those new terms and phrases. And more importantly they do not want to call things and events with the right name because there are politically incorrect or whatever.

Anonymous said...

those whom practice creating fuffles are the expert flutternuters, from an American whom grew up amongst people more worried about an artificial reality image of wealth than real life. having fun yet? Wildflower 09

Sabretache said...


Dmitry Orlov, you're a real tonic. Unfailingly funny but always right 'on the button'.

Thank you.

das monde said...

Great characterization of the modern economic aspirations. That's indeed what we have after so much innovation and "smartest" choices. Do civilizations always grow up until their "discover" a way to fuffle themselves away?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughtful reflections, as always.

Since fuffles create their own reality, don't be surprised at the announcement, at the end of this year, of a "fuffle recovery". No matter that it will be totally divorced of any real meaning (bread, for example), it will be announced.

Will the public become uncoupled from Fuffleland? If it does, the recovery of the "fuffle economy" will be met with utter derision and scorn. If not, the cycle may keep going for a while longer, until the knives come out. I am becoming more and more convinced that they will come out. Against whom? That's hard to say. I don't want to be here when it happens.

Peter Dodson said...

Hey Dmitry,

Fuffles sound tasty, but maybe that's just me.

Since I am not an economist, and in fact failed Math 11, can I just ask a quick question here? So the Federal Reserve bought up toxic assets from troubled banks? And now the U.S. Treasury is going to buy up those same toxic assets from the Federal Reserve? Am I getting this right? And if I am, which is doubtful, what is the endgame here, meaning, what does team Obama hope will happen?

Thanks Dmitry.

Anonymous said...

And here is the ever lucid Mike Whitney describing the fuffles!

This is surreal. The only word for it is bullshit. If I understood Dmitry correctly, a fuffle is bullshit known to be bullshit but accepted as if it weren't.

Anonymous said...

This is an absolutly masterful linguistic as well as economic text that should be mandatory reading in Colleges.

Thank you Dr.Orlov

bryant said...

So would a person who deflates fuffles be a fufflator?

Devil's Dictionary definition:

A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.

Great post; thank you.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the current English equivalent would be "the emperor's new clothes" ... now become a wardrobe!

Anonymous said...

In fully inflated fuffleland one good good tip and the loan collar of servitude would vanish. No mincing banker would mince words about his views about that I would think.

-deviated septum-

Hombre said...


Thanks for the fuffle article. I am a recovering fuffler and you are one of my best sources of concise and sensible advisors.

I have read you book on Re-Inventing Collapse twice!

I see the fuffleDow is way up today--wow! Someone must have found a new North Sea Reserve...


Anonymous said...

Not directly related, but very funny: Obama has talks with Gorbachev!

Is Gorbachev a consultant on... perestroika science?

Sorry, couldn't resist this one.

Chris R. said...

Brilliant! A great synopsis of where we are and seems to me that the concept of "The American Dream" as is being marketed by the imagemakers relies on just such a mechanism. I am beginning to wonder whether the new administration might be the biggest one of them all. Hope to hell not...

Chris R.
The Localizer Blog

txtface said...

Interesting to note that in the Urban Dictionary "fuffle" is explained as "passing gas." More-or-less the same as flat money economy. A lot of hot air, as you point out.

Avi said...

Regarding fuffles, Gurdjieff's parable of the Transcaucasian Kurd seems apt:

Laureen said...

The whole way through this, my brain kept trying to translate it into Dr. Seuss's miff mufflered moof from "The Lorax".

So do you think we'll base the new growth economy on thneeds?

Anonymous said...

Magnificient post, Dmiti. Financial engineering reduced to...the bauble that it is. I envy your literacy.

Brings to mind '...the whole atmosphere of every prison is an atmosphere of glorification of that sort of gambling in “clever strokes” which constitutes the very essence of theft, swindling and all sorts of similar anti-social deeds.' PKropotkin’s Memoirs, ca 1899

Anonymous said...

"if something gets bigger and bigger over time while delivering the same or lesser value, then it is quite likely to be a fuffle. Also, fuffles breed: as a fuffle gets larger and larger, it produces offspring of other fuffles, which also grow."

Sounds like the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

Richard said...

It seems that a new career field in Fuffle fullfillment should be opening up to reemploy the workers who lost work at other Fuffle factories. Finally, first person facts on finishing off financial fanatics and fixing the faucets of fantasy.

Great post and very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dimitri, for putting things firmly in their rightful place. I love you! We have something similar in Scotland (possibly Gaelic) called a "kafuffle", which is usually a messy situation you end up in unwittingly, or through not paying attention, and takes a lot of time and effort to get out of. Sounds like many of the predicaments you describe here.

Be vigilant of fuffles and kafuffles!

Dmitry Orlov said...

Sandra, you are correct! "Kafuffle" derived from "fuffle" and came into English by way of Scots.

Unknown said...

Well, "kafuffle" (or even kerfuffle in gaelic, am i right?) is not the same as fuffle, according to the dictionaries it seems to be a mess, a disorder or something, while "fuffle" itself is much more closer to "bullshit" (w/out strictly negative and rude inflection).

That is how it seems from my point of view being a Russian :)

Earth Bound said...

A practically identical meaning is embedded in Italian "fuffa", particularly in Milanese.

andywade said...

Great post Dmitri!

People are panicking. It is interesting how people are responding - all the various ways of denying reality are coming out. The most sinister one I've found, at least locally, is the old "blame someone else" gambit. The blame falls on ethnic minorities, nothing has changed since the Depression in that sense. As ever, it is not just the economic collapse that's the problem, it is people's reaction to it that kills you.

das monde said...

Most of the fuffle markets work on appeal to social status improvement, the "imperative" to appear better than your neighbors. That's when fuffle dealers have easy time to lure you to a "new price bracket".

The "obvious" competitiveness of humans (and any living beings) is being underscored everywhere, from Disney animation to biological evolution classes (or Calvinist sermons). But the scope of competitions is probably extrapolated far too wildly. Inevitability of fluff competition might be just a theory after all, supported only by a too short history of industrial revolution follies.

By the way, a nice fluff market is described by Philip Dick in "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Read about "several blocks of big-time animal dealers with their huge glass windows and lurid signs" at about 2/3rds of the way in the novel.

Dmitry Orlov said...

das monde -

Competitiveness is what fufflers like best to exploit. Most non-fuffled life forms choose cooperate, out of an innate sense of self-preservation. Among the more evolved humans, competition is a display designed to please the gods, not to defeat your own friends.

Anonymous said...

Two extremely important points in an all-out famine:

* Some seaweeds can be eaten and contain loads of proteins. In a famine, proteins will be in short supply. Seaweeds have traditionally not been used in foods in Western societies, but are frequently used in Japan.

* In a famine situation, foods vitamin C kan easily be in short supply. This could quite quickly lead to the dreadful disease scurvy. However, Scots pine, which grows in much of Europe, contains vitamin C - make an infusion (herbal tea) of the pines. - There are probably wild-growing alternative vitamin C sources in North America as well.

Anonymous said...

"Competitiveness is what fufflers like best to exploit. Most non-fuffled life forms choose cooperate, out of an innate sense of self-preservation. Among the more evolved humans, competition is a display designed to please the gods, not to defeat your own friends."

And one of the forces that the current system unleashes, infallibly, is envy... this is well described in Thorstein Veblen's _The Theory of the Leisure Class_, written a century ago.

Now, out of envy nothing very good has ever come out.

The other feeling is anger because others have what you think you should have. It can exist with or without envy (more often with than without).

The myth and these two emotions have driven "growth". A little nuclear family, guy and gal, with their two or three kids, constantly having to "grow" their income to keep up... until they can't.

Something is very wrong with this. That Veblen still has not been absorbed by American society and thought is rather remarkable.

Jaco said...

I knew an English girl who often used the expression "fiffing and faffing." I think it meant "shooting the breeze," wasting time, quibbling, dilly-dallying or some combination of the above. I'm sure that it is related to fuffle.

I propose a new word for the English languange: "fiffle." A fuffle is a meaningless waste of material resources or money while a fiffle is a meaningless waste of time. Examples of fiffles include watching television, surfing the web, going to church, attending public school, looking for a job in a collapse, etc. Feel free to use this new word.

Polistra said...

My little animated salute to the brilliance of Orlov:

Anonymous said...

LOL! Thoroughly enjoyable reading. And, unlike many other explanations of the financial crisis, easily comprehensible!

For clarity, I would suggest these English variations on the word fuffle: a 'fuffl-er' would convince the 'fuffl-ee' to invest in the 'fuffle'.

Anonymous said...

Dmitry, you are so clearly behind the times. Haven't you seen the leader's pronouncement of glimmers of hope? Haven't you read the optimistic newspaper articles? The economy is roaring back! Fuffles for everyone!

Dmitry Orlov said...

I would prefer to call them the fufflers and the fuffled.

madaral said...

The new fuffle has some content. Obama et al found a doable way to pump new money into the financial system. It will save the day, but inflation is next.

Anonymous said...

"Obama et al found a doable way to pump new money into the financial system. It will save the day, but inflation is next."

I hope I'm wrong but I think it might be more accurate to say it will save the day ... but destroy the century.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, who is the survivalist fellow planning to shoot, and whose locks is he planning to pick? Food, that's the key, food and shelter, networks of people doing something productive. This cowboy stuff is not only ridiculous but also extremely dangerous. And it won't generate a new economy to replace the dead one. That is what's needed, not paranoia and lots of weapons. My opinion, anyway.

Anonymous said...

"I hope I'm wrong but I think it might be more accurate to say it will save the day ... but destroy the century."

I hope I'm wrong, but it seems like it won't even "save the day."

Anonymous said...

Paranoia fuels paranoia fuels violence fuels violence.

Nevermind the guns. Do NOT become paranoid, it will make you exhausted psysically and psychologically faster than you think. You've got to rely on other people one way or another in order to be successful. Staying clear of weapons altogether will force you to try to thrive with an ever-increasing number of friends instead of retreating crazed into a bunker.

Remember, survival in the long run is very much about being comfortable and getting enough relaxation and socialization. The bigger problem in Russia after the collapse was not murders and robberies, but alcohol. Alcohol singlehandedly shaved life expectancy with 20 years, didn't it?

Anonymous said...

Another scathing analysis by Mike Whitney of the most recent boondoggles by the Obama administration (Geithner as spokesman):

Notice that Whitney actually refers to "the public-private boondoggle"!

Michael Dawson said...

So, fuffles are hyper-boondoggles!

This is excellent stuff, very penetrating social science, Mr. Orlov. Thanks!

For any who are interested, I riff on Dmitry's observation at my blog,

Anonymous said...

Not to get dialectical about this, but I think a boondoggle can be a fuffle but a fuffle is not necessarily a boondoggle. For example, a fuffle can involve entirely imaginary or nonexistent entities or values in the "fix", whereas a boondoggle is real enough but worsens the problem it is trying to solve. For example, "propping up the car industry" is a giant boondoggle but it is not a fuffle. They can actually give money to car companies.

I am not sure that fuffles have _any_ effect on an economy, since they deal with imaginaries, like old theories of ether. I see fuffling as talking lots of hot air and nonexistent concepts, while the corpse continues to decompose.

Right now, the sensible economists propose boondoggles, whereas the crazed/rapacious ones speak in fuffles. Borrowing from oneself knowing you can't pay yourself back and saying that's OK is a fuffle.

The underlying mechanics, i.e., printing money, is a boondoggle, a very old one. It usually makes things worse, though there are exceptions.

Swedish reader said...

In Swedish, fuffel means deceit, cheating, dishonest trading practices etc.

Anonymous said...

"Die welt, die will betrogen sein."

The world wants to be deceived.

Sebastian Brant, ~1515

Anonymous said...

Economist Michael Hudson's article _How the scam works_ explains the bank toxic asset removal fuffle... it's a pretty nasty piece of work: nausea alert.

Dan said...

"Nevermind the guns. Do NOT become paranoid, it will make you exhausted psysically and psychologically faster than you think. You've got to rely on other people one way or another in order to be successful. Staying clear of weapons altogether will force you to try to thrive with an ever-increasing number of friends instead of retreating crazed into a bunker."

Should I also go play in a field with Bambi, have the nice tattooed man on the motorcycle babysit my daughter (I'm sure he's a very nice man), and not bother to go to work (after all I'm sure somebody will be along sooner or later to give me free food)?

I am personally arranging things gradually with the following assumptions in mind:

1) The dollar won't be fit to wipe my butt with in a few years.
2) The grocery store shelves will reach a state of emptiness sooner or later, for an undetermined period of time.
3) If someone comes to hurt me or my family or steal the stuff our lives depends on, the police will not be there to even respond, much less prevent it from happening.
4) There will be a time when we won't be able to either find or afford a doctor or medicine.
5) The electric grid will go down for a very extended period of time.

Now, one or more of these may be wrong. But at least one of them (and probably more) will be right. If I follow your suggested path, my family and I will suffer and/or die.

Strangely enough, I find that unacceptable. I've been slowly stockpiling ammo for a couple of months now. I'll be buying AT LEAST 2 more guns this spring and probably more this summer. I'll never shoot at anybody that isn't trying to do harm. For your sake, I hope everybody you meet is that decent. I'm not willing to bank on it when my family is at stake.

Dr. Doom said...

The Wall Street financial bonuses are an interesting window on the elites that really run the countries, all the "progressive ones", including the US. They stand out because of their large monetary size, and the facts that they supplement usually multiple 6-figure salaries, and are expected rain or shine. Like the big three auto executives flying to Washington for government assistance in their private jets, these elites just don't get it, don't see it, and most importantly, don't care to know. Bonuses only become embarrassments to them when the public outrage is already felt. They expose the shear distance between them and us, the more common folk, and make a mockery of all those high values we hold so dear, that all men are created equal, that playing by the rules is the right and just thing to do, that all have equal opportunities under the present laws and customs, that fairness is a virtue which is upheld and vigorously pursued by all of good moral compass.

Tom Crowl said...

Great Post! Starting to look like its time for all of us to make friends with our nearby neighbors, start growing vegetables and build a stockade!

Anonymous said...

Michael Hudson, from Europe, on the biggest fuffle of all: the entire world is blackmailed into financing the US empire which, in effect, subjects them:

Such a situation is unprecedented, to my knowledge. Such a situation will blow up, and it might be soon.

This article is essential reading to understand what things look like from outside the US. Soon, it may be down to naked power, which is always the only real power but most often is draped in verbiage and, well, fuffles!

Zhu Bajie said...

"I've been slowly stockpiling ammo for a couple of months now. I'll be buying AT LEAST 2 more guns this spring and probably more this summer."

Keep working at it, and you can become what you most fear!

In between target practice and gun idolatry sessions, may I suggest you learn what vegetables to grow to maintain maximum health, and how to preserve them through the winter?

Zhu Bajie

quique251 said...

Just for the curiosity, in spanish we have an old word, "cancamusa", that is almost the same meaning that "фуфел" /fúfel/
Acording to the Royal Academy (automatic online translation):
Cancamusa: Saying or fact with which one tries to disorient someone in order that he(she) does not warn the deception of that is going to be an object.

Anonymous said...

Quique, "cancamusas" is good. I also thought of the word "tongo". The phrase "The Tongo Economy" has a certain ring of sincerity and earthiness to it...

Jewel said...

I am reminded of the joke where a counterfeiter made an 18 dollar bill and tried to get change for it at the store. The clerk says, sure! Would ya like 2 Nines or 3 Sixes?

Anonymous said...

I was looking for the Irish spelling of kerfuffle. The closest I could get was 'fabhal', which means fable, and I think is pronounced 'fool'.

To 'Die welt...', the world loves to be deceived, but the right-living endeavor to perfect it. The fuffle phenomenon shows us how important it is to 'know it by its fruits.'

Unknown said...

A reply to the first comment, namely to this part:

"do not want to call things and events with the right name because there are politically incorrect or whatever."

Anyone noticing, where the expression (and survival mechanism of) political correctness came from?

The Origins Of Political Correctness
"If you complained about being hungry when food shortages were not officially recognized, then you became an enemy of the state. If you failed to praise a Soviet hero, or praised an ex-hero, then again your fate was sealed. The need to be politically correct dominated all conversation and behaviour, as failure meant drastic penalty."

Chill Penguin said...

Do you know why the cities of the US emptied and the people spilled out into the suburbs and exurbs?

Do you know why everyone needs a college degree?

The answers are (1) ethnic cleansing (Officially, no one really knows why "white flight" happened. Whites just up and abandoned the cities, fearing for their personal safety) (2) an end-run around affirmative action (under Griggs v. Duke Power Co., the Supreme Court ruled that any tests that have a disparate impact on a protected class are illegal for employment purposes. Of course schools are allowed to, you know, test their students; and it's legal to require a college degree. So employers outsource testing to schools.

As to SUVs? The progressives have this one right:

The fuel efficiency requirements the government demanded of motor vehicle companies were written with exemptions for light trucks. So light trucks were produced and sold as cars. Oh, and they actually are more safe - when you ram them into someone else's car. Rollovers aren't seen as nearly as problematic because that's the driver's fault; if you're going to crash into or get crashed into by another car, you should prefer to have an SUV.

Don't blame individuals for government decisions.

Now, as to the home loan crisis? The government demanded that loans should be handed out to underserved minorities and, well, turns out there was a reason they were underserved (bankers are not known for refusing to making profitable loans without government intervention). So this was basically a fuffle, but it was demanded by the government.