Fear Itself

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New York Times reporter Vikas Bajaj talks about how emotions are trumping logic when it comes to the markets and other financial news.


Vikas Bajaj

Comments [13]


that's actually a good idea , 4, though i'm not sure how much revenue it would raise -- and if there are programs actually linked w that state income...

Oct. 08 2008 08:48 PM
Rachel from UWS

Saw something interesting about this on a psychologist's blog, about how the flight/fight thing makes us do irrational stuff...

Oct. 08 2008 01:04 PM
Alex from brooklyn

Why would Warren Buffet make a good treasury secretary? Because he has consistently known how to make money, lots and lots of money? Because he has been so good at this? That's the qualification?

What do we know about him? He is patient. He doesn't trade in the typical investments of Wall St, bur rather whole companies. He is patient, in that he waits for good opportunities and holds things for a very long time. He believes in progressive taxation. Do we know anything more?

On the flip side, what do we need out a treasury secretary? We need someone who can make those particular big decisions (i.e. someone who understands the budget and economics at the very high/macro level), and we need someone who can run an government agency of 100,000 employees for no more than 8 years.

Leading a large organization has been the main experience we've looked for in the past, even though that experience has nearly always been with for-profit companies -- perhaps inappropriate experience. How often have presidents looked for someone who has demonstrated understanding of the kinds of issues the Treasury Secretary deals with? Perhaps this kind of thing can only be found in academia or research. But these people don't have experience leading any sort of large organization.

Oct. 08 2008 11:14 AM
Cath from Westchester, NY

I am a supported of the government offering a rescue package to Wall St but at what point do we, The Public, step up & take responsibility for our actions?? If someone has borrowed money they can't repay & renegotiates his loan with the government - who will keep the profit if the asset eventually regains it's value?
Yes, We have all been offered outrageous loans and credit card limits but you have to take full responsibility as an adult for what you sign up for.. That's life and sometimes it is tough to learn the hard way!

Oct. 08 2008 11:12 AM
Nick from NYC

The last caller's reference re: fight and flight was to the PBS "Dogs" series. It was discussed in context with Russian scientist
Dmitri Belyaev's 1959 experiments re: the domestication of silver foxes. Incredibly interesting research:

I don't know how applicable they are to human finance, however...


Oct. 08 2008 11:02 AM
RadRepub from Upper Left Side

Wall Street's best maxim:

"Bulls make money. Bears make money. Pigs get slaughtered."

We know who the pigs are now.

Oct. 08 2008 11:02 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Brian, why are you flogging this "new" mortgage plan from McCain? First, as nearly everyone points out -- it's not new. Second, do you really think this is well thought out -- and not just another Hail Mary pass? Really isn't he just throwing any idea against the wall to see if it sticks. Obviously it stuck for you. More important, anything they propose has to get through Congress -- look what just happened to the current bailout plan. It isn't about what they'll do -- it's really how they'll go about doing it.

Oct. 08 2008 10:59 AM
Matthew from NYC

I thought it interesting that a commentator on PBS last night described Obama as being a very "cautious" individual and almost played it as a possible negative quality for Obama. He wondered if Obama could be "bold" when needed.

Since when did "cautious" become a bad thing? Haven't we've had enough of a bold President who uses his cowboy diplomacy to steer our country into mess after mess?

I would think the one quality that would be most appreciated when everyone is panicked about the economy would be someone who is contemplative enough, cautious enough, to think before acting.

Oct. 08 2008 10:58 AM
jpb from 11211

Fact check: Contrary to Brian's claim, Gladwell didn't write "The Wisdom of Crowds", a solid argument with a solid thesis (diversity, independance, decentralization, and aggregation lead to solid decision-making). James Surowieki wrote it.

Gladwell wrote a bunch of fluffy marketing-as-pseudo-science books like "Blink" and "Tipping Point".

Oct. 08 2008 10:58 AM
Jesse Califano from TPA/ NYC/

This is a recommendation:
To jump start creating stability in the housing market- Sen. McCain should advocate a 4-year moratorium on collecting any taxes on the profits of houses purchased in calendar 2008 and subsequently sold at a profit.

Oct. 08 2008 10:58 AM
Joe Corrao from Brooklyn

Cramer is like the Grand Wizard of Wrestling of Finance...

Oct. 08 2008 10:55 AM
Lisa from Manhattan

The Wisdom of Crowds is by James Surowiecki, another New Yorker writer, not Malcolm Gladwell as Brian indicated.


Oct. 08 2008 10:54 AM
barry from Manhattan

? I saw Jim Kramer on Colbert last night, he said housing crash was due to Fannie and Freddy loaning to unqualified buyers for the last 20years or so.

"Colbert: So we can safely not blame this on the Bush Administration?

Cramer: No. You can't. Actually, you can't blame it on the Bush Administration.

Colbert: You cannot?

Cramer: No, you cannot. I'd love to but it is historically incorrect."

Oct. 08 2008 10:51 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.