"Memes" were first coined by Richard Dawkins (in the book "The Selfish Gene") to describe self replicating ideas whose preferred means of transmission was human communication.
The "EU is doomed" meme is gaining steam.
Spain drops reassuring gloss as crisis deepens
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Last Updated: 1:09am BST 18/07/2008
Spain's finance minister Pedro Solbes has stunned the markets with an
admission that his country faces the worst economic crisis in its history as
the full effects of the property crash spread through the economy.
"This crisis is the most complex we have ever lived through given the
plethora of factors on the table at the same time," he told Punto Radio in
Madrid, breaking with past efforts to put a reassuring gloss on events.
Mr Solbes said the Madrid bourse had suffered an "earthquake", crashing 27pc
since the start of June. He blamed the toxic cocktail of high oil prices,
the global credit crisis and the sharp slowdown in the key export markets of
North America and Germany.
The comments follow this week's bankruptcy of Martinsa-Fadesa, Spain's
biggest corporate failure. The property developer - with an empire of
housing estates, hotels, shopping malls and hotels - collapsed after failing
to refinance E5.1bn (£4bn) of debts. The company's demise was a textbook
story of aggressive over-expansion at the top of the cycle, driven by high
debt gearing. It has E11bn of assets.
Mr Solbes has pursued a rigorous "no bailout" policy, saying Martinsa-Fadesa
took "excessive risks" and must now face the consequences. He has reportedly
clashed with cabinet colleagues, who are now searching for any means to stop
the downward spiral in the economy.