Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We tend to believe that changes happen slowly: growing up, mature, aging. Slow and steady seems to be the typical pattern but real-life events tend to challenge our assumption. Early this year, we didn't know that Wall Street would never be the same, that a young challenger would win the US presidency in a landslide and that we're moving again into a polarized world with the East battling the West.
Reminds me of West-German politicians sincerely communicating the durability of the German Wall for the next 1,000 years, just to see it fall a few days later. Reality is, we have problems understanding change. The complexity involved in major changes is too much for our human brain to grasp and understand. We hear many people say that things will never be the same after the failure of Lehman. Do we really mean it or do we just say it because it seems so complex and so hard to understand that we proclaim these changes without understanding them?
When the credit crunch was at its height, consumers heard about the problem but continued with their buying behavior because they didn't understand the implications. Once Paulson and the Bush administration played the dramatic fear card, everything came to a halt. Go to a mall now and you'll be often by yourself. It might not be a rational response to the crisis but who said human beings were rational?