More Misplaced Optimism

Cynicus Economicus writes some good stuff. His latest piece, titled ‘Optimism and Economics‘, mirrors some of the confusion i’ve been trying to express recently:

I will freely admit that I have been increasingly puzzled by the optimism that is emerging. I have always accepted that commentators, analysts and markets can be somewhat irrational, but have always insisted that reality must at some point intrude. I still believe that reality will catch up with delusions, but have had trouble understanding the level of self-delusion that is taking place. I keep on wondering just what will it take for the underlying reality to sink in.

The examples are all things that have gone past in the stream of news and left me shaking my head. Most telling is the US GDP “only” declining 6.1% as opposed to the previous quarters decline of 6.3%, which was hailed as the ‘green shoots of recovery’ (by some idiot)… is 0.2% even within the margin of error?!

First quarter profits for major US banks? In what kind of world is it even possible for people to maintain the level of delusion required to believe that kind of crap?

CE is taking the tack that this degree of self-delusion is just another element of the system, and therefore worth study. My views lie more inline with those of William S. Burroughs who, in a piece entitled ‘Some words of advice for young people’, opined:

Do not proffer sympathy to the mentally ill; it is a bottomless pit. Tell them firmly, “I am not paid to listen to this drivel — you are a terminal FU†!” Otherwise, they make you as crazy as they are. 

Advice well worth heeding.

† “Avoid fuck-​ups. FUs, I call them. You all know the type — no matter how good it sounds, everything they have anything to do with turns into a disaster.”