Friday, April 17, 2009

The Stock Market Crash's Silver Lining

Hundreds of years before the meteoric rise of Cisco Systems or Qualcomm stock prices, Semper Augustus tulip bulbs were selling for the price of a house in Holland. Tulipmania was in full swing in the 1600s, and it looked much like the dotcom madness of the 1990s. It crashed eventually, of course, but caused little lasting damage. Could the same thing be true today?

Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, the Stock Market Crash's Silver Lining.

Of course, it should be pointed out that in all the madness surrounding the trade in rare and exotic tulip bulbs, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange never got in on the deal. Madness it was, with speculators brokering deals in taverns and bars, and some bulbs changing hands 10 times in a day.

It's not much of a stretch to fast forward to images of amateur day-traders hunched over PCs and trying to make fast cash on gambling that stock prices will go down at some time in the future.

But the big difference between 1636 and 2008 is that our stock markets, from the Nasdaq to the Nikkei, are heavily involved. And so today's worldwide stock market crash is marked by at least 2 things that distinguish it from the Holland of the 1600s:

1. It's worldwide
2. It's having a big impact on the economy

Could there really be anything good about this? Well, not if you're looking at the situation form a traditional point of view. But the economic view of someone who understands the psyche of the human being and the distortions of society that spring from that psyche can shine a lot of light on the situation. This can help us see what's going on from a new perspective, and can even lead the way to correcting our distrotion and setting society on the right track again.

We've looked at this aspect of the impact of Man's psyche on society in a number of our podcasts, and I encourage you to look through the Thinking with Somebody Else's Head archives for those. I can steer you in the right direction, of course, at

Gilbert Gambucci has been studying Brazilian psychoanalyst Dr. Norberto Keppe's economic viewpoint on all this for the past couple of months and is putting together a blog to explore many of Dr. Keppe's ideas - especially as they relate to society. That blog - featuring great video of Keppe - is at Check it out.

Gilbert joins me today to explore the silver lining behind the crash of the stock market.

Click here to listen to this episode.

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