“Errors of Undue Pessimism”

In at least parts of the investor class there is certainly a brewing crisis of confidence with Obama’s economic policies.  I believe it’s too soon to pass judgment, but the cries of alarm are on the right (“socialism!”) and left (“nationalize the banks now!”).

Getting back to my favorite topic of behavioral economics / investing, here’s a relevant post via Economist’s View.  An excerpt:

However, Keynes can be our savior only to a very partial extent, and there is a need to look beyond him in understanding the present crisis. One economist whose current relevance has been far less recognized is Keynes’s rival Arthur Cecil Pigou… Pigou was much more concerned than Keynes with economic psychology and the ways it could influence business cycles and sharpen and harden an economic recession that could take us toward a depression (as indeed we are seeing now). Pigou attributed economic fluctuations partly to “psychological causes”…

It is hard to ignore the fact that today, in addition to the Keynesian effects of mutually reinforced decline, we are strongly in the presence of “errors of…undue pessimism.” Pigou focused particularly on the need to unfreeze the credit market when the economy is in the grip of excessive pessimism… One of the problems that the Obama administration has to deal with is that the real crisis … has become many times magnified by a psychological collapse. …


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