Inspiring Economic Growth

Robert J. Shiller :

Fear causes individuals to restrain their spending and firms to withhold investments; as a result, the economy weakens, confirming their fear and leading them to restrain spending further. The downturn deepens, and a vicious circle of despair takes hold. Though the 2008 financial crisis has passed, we remain stuck in the emotional cycle that it set in motion.

It is a bit like stage fright. Dwelling on performance anxiety may cause hesitation or a loss of inspiration. As fear turns into fact, the anxiety worsens – and so does the performance. Once such a cycle starts, it can be very difficult to stop.

→ Project Syndicate