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Men’s chaddi crisis strikes again: ET draws inspiration from Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint to cry economic slowdown

Alan Greenspan has been tracking underwear sales since over four decades now and linking them to economic crisis around the world.

Apparently, when men throw hygiene out of window, that is the prime indicator that the country’s economy is in shambles, if this Economic Times article is to be believed. In an article titled, “गिर रही है पुरुषों के अंडरवियर की बिक्री, क्या इकोनॉमी को लगने वाला है जोर का झटका?” (Sale of men’s underwear is falling, is economy declining?), ET claimed that US Federal Reserve’s Alan Greenspan had attached sale of men’s underwear as an economy indicator.

ET claimed that as per Greenspan, a man’s underwear is his most private thing and is ‘hidden’. Hence, whenever economic crisis leads to pinch in the wallet, they stop changing their underwear. Here one truly hopes ET meant they don’t buy new underwear and not that men just refuse to change their underwear till economy improves because the second option is quite revolting. Not that it would make sense in either case.

ET claims that for the quarter ending December 2022, the sale of underwear dropped by 55% for men. Because of rising prices, people are not left with enough money to buy new underwear. Hence, men not buying new underwear is a prime indication of slowdown of economy. Without giving any specific details, ET claimed that there has been a decrease in sales in the third quarter in men’s underwear companies like Jockey and Lux Cozy. Even Rupa, which makes men’s underwear, showed reduction of 52% sales.

This decrease in sale of men’s underwear could be a cause of concern, reported ET. Usually, Jockey underwear is sold in urban market and in such a case if there is decrease in sale of underwear it is something to be cautious about.

Shekhar Gupta, the ‘chaddi’ psychic… but wait

What ET thought now, Shekhar Gupta had already predicted in 2019. Months after 2019 general elections, when PM Modi returned to power with a stronger majority, Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint had published an article titled “Indians are not buying underwear. That’s how bad the economy is”. ThePrint had reached out to manufacturers and retailers of men’s underwears to paint Indian economy in shambles.

ThePrint had at that time blamed GST and demonetisation for men not buying chaddis but ET does not even have anything to blame. They just decided men not buying new chaddis is economic crisis. They had interviewed top men’s underwear manufacturers to write about their economic woes.


It was an Economic Times report from August 2019 linking sale of chaddis and economy that triggered Gupta.

ET and chaddi crisis

Before Gupta’s ThePrint went off for investigative journalism on chaddi sale, in August 2019 Economic Times had published an article claiming that innerwear sale reveals a slowdown. And surprise, surprise, this article cites Alan Greenspan. Same man who has been cited by ET in its recent report.

Over the years, Greenspan has tracked sale of men’s underwear to predict economy around the world.

Alan Greenspan underwear

In March 2022, CNN reported Greenspan’s quirk of using innerwear as economic indicator.

Quartz report

In March 2016, Greenspan was saying how economy was improving after increase in sale of men’s underwear.

Sept 2021

In September 2021, he was cited by Sydney Morning Herald.

Greenspan has been tracking underwear sale for men for over a decade.

2008 underwears

In fact, there have been articles analysing his underwear theories and how it could be flawed.

Greenspan chaddi theory criticism

In October 2009, NYMag had criticised Greenspan’s underwear theory. Turns out his theory is not new and he had come up with it in the 70s. That means over 40 years of chaddi sale tracking.

Greenspan’s chaddi chronicles reminded me of the time this one guy I had briefly known years ago told me his ‘secret’ that he ‘stores underwears in suitcases’. A teenaged me was so taken aback I asked him if he stored women’s underwears and were they used or unused. “Like a trophy?” I asked. He said, no. He said he collected and stored only unused men’s underwears. Needless to say, I never spoke to him again.

Chaddi is a necessity

On that note, I may not be an economist, but I will stick my neck out and say that chaddis are necessity and are not quite price elastic. Hence, unless you are talking about luxury underwear for men or if these underwears come studded with diamond, one hopes men change their underwear as frequently as needed to, you know, save themselves from various infections.

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Nirwa Mehta
Nirwa Mehta
Politically incorrect. Author, Flawed But Fabulous.

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