26 March 2013

Fear in the Information Age

Who said it?

One thing always stands out in these economic experiences of the last five years -- that is the part which fear plays in the whole system. The growth of instantaneous communication, the interdependence of every segment, have given it an importance in economic life never hitherto experienced or appreciated. Any policies which create fear will submerge every other effort. Today fear of unstable currency has paralyzed the capital goods industry. This same fear has turned the minds of the people from prudent investment to speculation in equities. Fear of the mounting public debt induces still other reactions. And in it all these things paralyze employment and bring more misery to new firesides.

Herbert Hoover said it. From our perspective, the scariest thing about it may be that Hoover saw this effect and commented on it in eighty years ago.

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