December 03, 2003

We Get The World That We Deserve

The US stock market is registering steady growth and, according to some, may even be about to boom again as the housing "bubble" bursts. Is this just electioneering and wishful thinking by the corporate bosses who put Bush in power and want to keep him there for four more years?

Investors put their money in real estate because they were shaken by high-level corporate shennanigans involving supposedly "safe" and "reputable" companies. Has anything really changed from the days of Enron and Arthur Anderson? No. So how can investors return confidently to the stock market?

The answer lies in Human Nature. People don't care that Bush lies as long as it doesn't have a serious and immediate negative impact on their lives. As the Economist magazine reports, the same applies to the stockmarket, where human greed rules:

"Investors don’t give a tinker’s cuss now because they are once again making money, do not want to pass up the chance of making more, and are happy enough to allow any unpleasantness to be swept under the carpet.

"It has always been thus. Nobody much cares about how companies make money when markets rise. That is why investors were so tolerant in the late 1990s, despite much evidence of accounting gimmickry and worse. Only when they are seriously out of pocket do investors shine a light into companies’ darkest corners. By which time, of course, it is too late...

"Stockmarkets ... have shrugged off the collapse of world trade talks, mounting protectionism in America, a potential dollar collapse and more evidence, as if any were needed, that Russia is not quite the land of opportunity that many had assumed (at least, if you do not happen to be in the Mafia or an erstwhile member of the secret service). "


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