The “pig in a python” syndrome or effect (also “pig in the python,” “pig through a python” and “pig through the python") describes swallowing and digesting something large. The post-WWII baby boom in the United States was described by demographers as a “pig in a python” by at least 1972; the boomers ("pig") would have to go through the school system, have some children, and go through retirement.
CNBC’s John Carney wrote about the housing foreclosure crisis in October 2010:
“Get ready to hear the phrase ‘pig through the python’ a lot. For example, ‘We need to get the pig through the python very quickly so that the market can be free of uncertainty.’ This is the favorite metaphor of bankers discussing the foreclosure crisis.”
The housing use of “pig through the python” was popularized by Annaly Salvos of Annaly Capital, who wrote The Pig in the Python on September 24, 2010.
pig in a python
n. especially in demographics, a spike or surge in a statistic measured over time.
1974 Russell Baker New York Times Magazine (Apr. 21) “Pigs in a Python” p. 6: All very well for the bulge group, you may say. It will continue to dominate society as it passes through the decades like a pig through a python.
1983 Philip H. Dougherty New York Times (Feb. 11) “Advertising; Redbook Rejuggles Its Image”: It is a population segment that will grow 27 percent by 1990, and that portion of American womanhood that Gilbert Maurer, president of Hearst Magazines, lovingly characterized as ‘‘the pig in the python.’’
Google News Archive
31 January 1970, Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, “Tom Wolfe: limp-haired, white suited renegade cowboy” by Herbert Aronoff, pg. 37, col. 2:
YOUTH WILL GROW OLD his words screamed across the wide expanses of McGill’s Leacock Auditorium and sideburns bristled on all sides.
Like a pig in a python, the youth bulge will work its way from front to back, living to see the tail end of life, condemned in its old age to wag the head of society with outmoded ideas of peace and love.
19 May 1972, Life magazine, “The 70-year life span of a baby boom,” pg. 46:
This created a bulge in our population which, like a pig in a python, has been moving along and creating problems ever since.
Google News Archive
8 June 1981, Anchorage (AK) Daily News, ‘Graduating into our self-centered society” by Joseph Kraft, pg. A10, col. 2:
The “pig in the python,” the great bulge in the population caused by the baby boom that ran from 1946 to 1965 provides the basic setting.
Going After the Mightiest Market
By John S. DeMott;Denise Worrell;Bob Buderi Monday, Sep. 14, 1981
Madison Avenue aims anew at the baby-boom generation.
The market target is massive. Seventy-six million people, nearly one-third of the U.S. population, were born between 1946 and 1964. Moreover, now that they are mostly in their 20s to mid-30s, many baby-boom adults are taking home big paychecks for the first time. Population experts refer to this as “the pig in a python” phenomenon because demographic charts today resemble a snake that has just swallowed something huge. The people born during the baby boom form a large group that comes between two periods of baby bust: the Depression and the 1970s.
OCLC WorldCat record
The pig in the python and other tales : a collection of research papers presented before the 1981 ASTD National Conference
Author: Ruth Salinger; American Society for Training and Development. National Conference
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : The Society, ©1982.
Edition/Format: Book : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Baby boom : the pig in the python / producers, Phyllis Ward, John Ketcham.
Author: Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable.; WJZ-TV (Television Station : Baltimore, Md.)
Publisher: Baltimore, Md. : WJZ-TV ; Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable, 1984.
Edition/Format: VHS tape : VHS tape : Videorecording : English
Summary: This program discusses the phenomenon of the baby boom generation in the United States and what happens as it ages
Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems: selected readings
Edited by John W. Nazemetz, William E. Hammer and Randall P. Sadowski
Norcross, GA: Industrial Engineering and Management Press, Institute of Industrial Engineers
Smoothing this flow out with many small batches will stop this “pig through the python” syndrome.
By Hal Mather
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
This has been dubbed “the pig through the python” effect. A python that swallows a pig has a large visible bulge that slowly moves down the python’s body.
July 20, 2010, 10:00 a.m. EDT
U.S. housing starts drop 5% to 8-month low
Number of homes under construction falls to record low in June
By Rex Nutting, MarketWatch
“The focus should thus revert back to the main event—working the foreclosure pig through the python, “shadow” existing home inventories, and home prices,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist for Pierpont Securities.
The Pig in the Python
Housing | Annaly Salvos | September 24, 2010 11:55 pm
The title of this post may sound like a fable told by Aesop, but we assure you it’s not.
We spent the early part of this week in Dallas attending the 3rd Zelman & Associates Housing Summit. The conference was attended by CEOs of housing and housing finance companies, senior officials in various government agencies and regulators, as well as numerous economists and investors, thinkers and forecasters. Today’s post is a brief summary of one of the more interesting narratives that wove through many of the panel discussions: shadow inventory and moving the problem loan pig through the python.
MarketWatch - Kurt Brouwer’s Fundmastery Blog
September 25, 2010, 11:49 PM EDT
Homes: a pig in a python.
This expression is from a piece by Annaly Capital, a mortgage REIT. The point being made is that there are a ton of unsold homes out there and until those move through the system, the new housing market will not begin to revive. This chart shows the increases in problem properties at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA, the troubled, government-owned mortgage giants.
This inventory growth of unsold, unloved and unwanted homes is what Annaly Capital is referring to as the pig in the python.
CNBC.com - NetNet with John Carney
A Primer On The Foreclosure Crisis
Published: Monday, 11 Oct 2010 | 2:48 PM ET
By: John Carney
Senior Editor, CNBC.com
What does this mean for the housing market and the economy?
Get ready to hear the phrase “pig through the python” a lot. For example, “We need to get the pig through the python very quickly so that the market can be free of uncertainty.”
This is the favorite metaphor of bankers discussing the foreclosure crisis. The idea is that anything that slows down foreclosures will unsteady the housing market. There’s a lot of truth to this.
Could Foreclosure Fiasco Harm the Recovery? You Can Bet the House on It.
By Joann M. Weiner
October 20, 2010
Whereas bankers might prefer to get this whole mess out of the way—and push the pig through the python, to use a favorite expression of theirs—the fact is that this mess will not go away so easily.
New York City • Banking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 06, 2010 • Permalink