Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thoughts from the Midway

The midway was my favorite place at the fair when I was a kid. It's not any more. The hucksters and confidence men really grate on my nerves. Last night, walking through the midway with a head full of economic news, I was particularly aware of and bothered by the whole environment. After I got home and was drifting of to sleep, my brain started making its usual odd connections. First thought to come bubbling up was the realization that if I took a bunch of these scruffy, foul mouthed, tattooed carnies, cleaned them up and gave them a new vocabulary set they would make pretty effective financial traders (they are good at selling impossible risk with the hope of a chance to win big.) or politicians. Second thought to bubble up was about confidence. I always find it strange that one of the best measures of our economic strength is consumer confidence (again with the confidence men). We have to have confidence (belief) in the great future outcomes. If we believe it, it will come...? I think it is only important that we have high consumer confidence when we are selling things that are not real. At the farmers market we didn't need consumer confidence to sell things, all we needed were real things to sell. It's like gravity. You don't have to believe in it for it to work. The loto on the other hand needs a great amount of consumer confidence to keep going. People have to believe that they can win, in spite of the overwhelming evidence against winning, or they wouldn't play. It seems to me that the hucksters and confidence men are trying to sell us a load of crap by playing on our fears and our hopes for a better tomorrow. I think we would be better off letting them all reap the whirlwind they have unleashed. Put your money in real things, and let the confidence men pay the piper this time.
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