Perhaps it hasn’t mattered for a long time now. The futurist John Casti, a maths genius, shows in his new book “Mood Matters: From Rising Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers” how the moods of a society govern its history. Casti’s argument is a radical one: it’s not events in the real world that shape the future, but solely collective expectations. As Epictetus said over two thousand years ago, “What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things.”
Not just wicked speculators are betting against the euro. A fear-and-anxiety industry among the media, which depend above all on escalating headlines, has been with us a long time.
The Euro Apocalypse, the Twilight of Money, the End of Prosperity. Angry professors come on talk shows to grandstand with their I’ve-known-it-all-along gestures. In every debate the organ notes piping out doom and gloom have to be cranked an octave higher.
Has this “Fearconomy” not already been the true economy a long time, a much stronger economy than one that relies on change, improvement and renewal? Is “Terror, alarm, horror, end, downfall, crisis, bankruptcy, danger, abyss, anxiety, core meltdown” not the hottest business model of all time, because human beings, at their deepest level, are simply creatures of panic?“Our most profound conviction,” says Dr. Hoffman in the novel by Robert Harris, “is that digitisation itself, universal connectivity, will provoke a global panic wave. And that’s how we’ll make money – a hell of a lot of money!”