We’re only half-way through the week and we have seen enough headlines of impending doom to last us all a life time. Here are just a few of the things that have been brought to our attention in the past couple of days:
- Lehman Brothers collapses
- AIG gets rescued by the Fed
- Unemployment reaches a 10-year high
- Lloyds TSB takes over HBOS after share collapse
- Merrill Lynch sold to Bank of America
- FTSE 100 falls below 5,000
- Worst day of trading on Wall Street for almost a Century
And these headlines are all before we remember the fact that the construction industry is in meltdown, the US Government has been forced to nationalise the country’s two main mortgage funders (Fannie and Freddie) and the inflation rate is now at its highest for over 11 years.
You can’t help thinking it’s disaster. Every day appears to bring new headlines about some further financial collapse. And several commentators have already said this is going to all be worse, much worse than the famous Wall Street Crash of 1929. Oh boy, apparently, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
But hang on a cotton-pickin’ minute….the money in the world hasn’t evaporated. It’s all still there – just in different places. The problem here is psychological, not financial.
Here’s what happens. We socially construct our view of the world; what we perceive to be happening is actually not solely our own thoughts, but is made up of all the thoughts and ideas we absorb from everyone else. So, as soon as lots of people start saying we’re doomed – we believe it. Not only have our brains constructed that view because we have absorbed what everyone else says, but there is also the phenomenon of social acceptance. We daren’t step out of line for fear of rejection.
So, as soon as there is enough groundswell of opinion that the world’s finances are in a mess, we all start to believe it even if it is not true. And if we think it isn’t true, we won’t say so for fear of being seen as a weirdo..!
Happily, though, the world is very different to 1929. They didn’t have the Internet than. Here online, there are several millions of people happily making money as though nothing has happened in the “real” world. Their socially constructed thinking is very different – and hence they will not concern themselves with crashes and collapses. Indeed, several have already started to make money out of the problems; there are now several web sites set up with the likely names of the merged banks..! Each is raking in advertising income already.
Where’s all the money gone from the financial markets? Lots is ending up here online; welcome to the new world.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+