Thursday, August 11, 2011

Greed and Fear

The other day CBC radio had a midday phone-in with an investment analyst as the guest. Folk were asked to call to name their concerns in light of the latest stock market swoon. One woman commented that the market seemed to be predicated on the extremes of greed and fear. The analyst agreed somewhat to my surprise, and the woman responded by saying that perhaps we need a Fear Index to help people calm themselves when they were inclined to panic.

Many of us are affected by the fluctations in the stock market, to be sure. I am enrolled in a pension plan which means I am indirectly involved. Even those of us who aren't in the market or a pension realize that an uncertain economy means less secure and scarcer jobs.

It occurred to me that greed and fear were both central to Jesus' teaching. He warned people against greed, and invited them to live beyond fear. He told them and us that perfect love casts out fear and that the love of money is the root of evil. Sure, but did Jesus ever dabble in the stock market?

Where are you on the fear index these days? Are you fretting about the latest down turn? Does your faith help you keep calm?


johnny said...

It may sound simplistic and cliche, but I try to look at what really matters to me: my health, my relationships and family, and having a roof over my head and food on the table. Anything above that is a bonus. My faith definitely does play a part in how I cope with times that are difficult.

Having said that, I realize many people have lost a lot of money, and I am not trying to trivialize that. These times will not last, and in fact it provides an opportunity to buy stocks at much lower prices.

IanD said...

I had certainly acknowledged the role of fear in market fluctuations, but an index is just a brilliant idea. It also brings a host of comedic possibilities with it! I can only imagine what the folks at Saturday Night Live could do with an idea like that ... !

We are fortunatey in Canada to have the kind of financial regulation and government policy that protects us from ourselves. We weathered the 2008 recession quite well, all things considered, and I expect we will weather the present storm well. Our banks are strong, few and sewn up; our natural inclination in terms of government fiscal policy since 1993 (until recently) has been to run budget surpluses and pay down debt.

We are a cautious, responsible people all-in-all. I think we'll be just fine.

lionlamb said...

I agree with you johnny about concentrating on the core priorities of life and the gratitude scale rather than the fear scale.

You're right Ian, boring has finally paid off for Canadians!