It’s easy to talk about something when it has already happened. The crisis seems so predictable now (it was predictable before as well if you browse to older posts). Now the trick is about spotting the tipping point. Have we already seen the worst or are we going into a depression this time?
If we all saw it coming, why didn’t we do anything about it? Why sometimes prospects seem so grim and then, suddenly, hope seems to be around the corner?
I’ve got a theory about the tipping point, or how we are going to turn this around. It’s related to what Keynes called the animal spirits, not those of the American natives, but of John Maynard Keynes. Those that sharpen the edges of the market, turning optimism into euphory sometimes, and dismaying in despair sometimes. They are moody and impulsive, and sometimes the distance between hope and fright is as thin as a hair for them.
But the animal spirits couldn’t do anything without bodies. Inadvertently, we lend them our bodies, energies and enthusiasm. They act through us, so we should know something about them. We should feel them about to act.
Let’s read around. Who are we blaming for the crisis? The govermnents mainly, some obscure financiers, some not so obscure cons, other countries, departing leaders, distant wars… in short, we look around and find somewhere else to look at.
But this couldn’t have happened without our acquiescence. This wouldn’t be here if we all had avoided some things that, looking backwards, feel like common sense to all of us now. We didn’t have a say, yes, but we all could have had.
And how is all this going to change? How are we going to turn it around?
I can’t answer that. I am writing about when. And the when is not here yet. Only when we look inward, think of what we should be doing to change it all, when we finish the blame game and we act on responsibility instead, only then, we will have touched the bottom.
Until then, our animal spirits will keep dragging us down…