Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Statutes of Liborty

Although Internet users are known for assuming that the state will wither away, given digital culture's predilection for libertarian or communitarian ideologies, the financial crisis of the last few weeks has made clear that nation-states continue to be important, even in the era of ludocapitalism and virtual economics.

At the same time netizens are trying to educate themselves about particular financial acronyms that have suddenly become more relevant to their personal lives, voting decisions, and home mortgages. One of these is the LIBOR or London Interbank Offered Rate, the interest rate that banks charge for borrowing among themselves, which was once considered a stable rate, since it went only to the most preferred lenders in the days before mass bank failures.

Although the LIBOR has gone down again somewhat, a period of skyrocketing numbers created more anxiety for those who now found themselves Googling the term. As this Bloomberg article points out, the search engine giant is noticing new interest in the term among its customers:

Hits on the Internet search engine Google show interest is increasing. In 2007, the U.S. wasn't in the top 10 countries where people searched for the term. Over the past 7 days, the U.S. has surged to No. 2, behind the Czech Republic, where Libor is a common first name. Worldwide, the number of hits rose tenfold from Sept. 7 to Sept. 30. Google Inc., based in Mountain View, California, won't disclose the total.

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