Growing up in Spain, families would tune their TVs on Friday nights to watch One, Two, Three…Answer Again.
It’s probably one of the most well-known and successful TV shows to come out of Spain, the format even exported to other countries.
It wasn’t your usual show. In fact, the whole thing in hindsight seems kind of crazy.
Let me attempt to explain it.
At the heart of the show, there was a competition where three couples would compete against each other in three separate sections, hence the name One, Two, Three.
The first section was a quiz show, the second was a game involving physical activity, and the third was an auction.
Each episode had a theme set around it such as Shakespeare, the French Revolution, fashion, etc. And it also had, well…everything else you can think of.
There were games, theatre productions, skits, singing, dancing, humour acts…you name it. There was a host, mascots, assistants, and the public, all cheering for the contestants.
But there was also a ‘negative’ part.
These were mascots and characters that were mean, judgemental, and stingy…while also funny. Their job was to boo when contestants won money and cheer when they lost.
In some way these ‘negative’ characters meant to represent the old government regime, remember this was at a time when Spain was transitioning into democracy.
Anyway, the best part was the auction. The couple that got to the final would stand in front of a table with the host. Then famous singers, actors, and dancers would perform, and afterwards, they’d bring objects to the table.
These objects weren’t the actual prize but had some association to it. They also held a card with a clue as to what the real prize was.
The host then was only allowed to read a small part of the clue, and the contestants had to decide if they wanted to keep the object (and the prize) or get rid of it. The goal was to eliminate all the objects on the table until there was only one left, their final prize.
The hidden prize could be anything, it could range from a holiday home on the coast to something as random as 50 mailboxes…or nothing.
Let me give you an example.
This is the clue a couple got in one of the shows themed after the stock market. It was hidden inside a newspaper from 1929 announcing the US stock market crash.
‘In an episode dedicated to the stock exchange, we could not fail to mention the horrific fall of the American stock exchange in 1929, the famous Great Crash [in Spanish Crack] that sank the US economy…’
That’s as much as the host could read. Any idea what the prize could be? No? I don’t blame you.
The card continued:
‘The same way there had to be a reference to the Crash [Crack] of 1929, here in “One, Two, Three”, we also have to remember that in the past season, one of our mascots had exactly that name, The Crack…and here you have it!’
In the previous season, there had been two mascots: ‘Boom’, which when it appeared you got the big prize, and ‘Crack’, which meant you went home empty-handed.
Just as an assistant brought in a replica of Crack and the contestants had given up hope, the host continued:
‘But, since this season “Ruperta” is our symbol of negativity, this Crack’s only use will be to decorate the living room of this wonderful new apartment!’
Told you the whole thing was kind of crazy.
But in short, contestants had to figure out the value of each hidden object, if any, with very little information and partial or misleading clues.
Sometimes, when looking at our current financial system, it does feel like we are in a show like One, Two, Three.
There’s cheering, booing, along with distorted messages and signals.
And we are the contestants just trying to figure out what the actual value of the things around us are.
At stake, are our finances.
This Sunday marks 50 years since the end of the Bretton Woods system when US President Richard Nixon ‘temporarily’ suspended the convertibility of the US dollar and cut the ties between money and gold.
It’s been 50 years of fiat currencies, of currencies backed by nothing.
Since then, we’ve had more debt, record-low interest rates, and central bank balance sheets at record highs. Anytime there’s a hint of a recession, central banks intervene.
It’s created asset bubbles. Even through a global pandemic, the stock market and property prices are soaring. Growth is coming through asset bubbles, debt, and spending instead of wage rises.
This has all distorted prices. What is the real value of things? I think that’s one of the hardest things to figure out today as money has lost all connection to the real economy.
It may very well be that we keep plodding along the same way, pumping asset bubbles even more along with low growth. Or, it could be that we see higher inflation that pops these bubbles. It’s hard to tell at this point.
In my mind, there’s a real risk of inflation, especially after all the fiscal and monetary stimulus, and a retreat in globalisation. It’s in times like this that you can always count on gold.
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PS: Selva is also the Editor of New Energy Investor, a newsletter that looks for opportunities in the energy transition. For information on how to subscribe, click here.