Friday, March 6, 2009

The nattering nabobs of negativity are back

The chatter is very intensive right now, and destructive, but it's not emanating from Bora Bora. No. it comes right out of New York, Atlanta, from CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, and it includes the entire spectrum of media commentators, from normally sensible persons like Anderson Cooper, to the generally wacky ones like Larry Kudlow.

They have all become the "nattering nabobs of negativity", which Nixon's nutty vice president Spiro Agnew lambasted so badly (thanks to then speechwriter William Safire who coined the phrase). Our talking act like hysterical passengers on a sinking ship, but it's not the ship that is sinking, only their 401K's that are shrinking. It is certainly painful, but their job is to analyse and report, not distort and vent. 

The problem with the nabobs of 2009 is that they are making things worse. They refuse to look deeper, instead pandering to the least common denominator, which of course is fear. They want everything fixed right now, only to complain that Obama is trying to do much and has too much on his desk. Above all, they want their 401K's back to where they were when we all were financially bubbleicious and happy, even if it didn't make sense and we killed the Earth in the process.

Analyst often say that we need a capitulation before the markets can turn back up. In a way they are right, but before the investors can capitulate, the pundits need to capitulate.

It's time to simmer down, and give the economy a chance! 

Hans Sandberg

PS. For an interesting take on the role of psychology in this crisis, read Amartya Sen's essay in the New York Review of Books: Capitalism Beyond the Crisis.  


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