STOCK MARKET CRASH AND YOU
Stock Market Crash is Coming
A 1975 study into the sex lives of bankers found that when the Dow Jones Industrial Average went up, so did their sex-drives. And when the market when down, these same bankers reported a welter of sexual difficulties. Well, bankers have enjoyed a 9-year, non-stop party during the current bull-run, where equities have just gone up and up. All the naysayers have been proven wrong. New stories are in circulation, that the we live in a “goldilocks” economy, where we have permanently low inflation, high growth, and spectacular corporate profits. We are going to live forever, and we are going to get richer and richer, and there is no risk, and mummy and daddy will tuck you into bed with a hot water bottle and a story book. Of course, we live in strange times. But things are going to change very quickly. The narrative is shifting, and belief systems are unravelling. Apple is no longer going to tell you how many phones it sells. Not because it has a new business model, but because it isn’t going to sell as much. Alibaba, the big Chinese company has noted soft demand in China and downgraded profit forecasts for next year, citing “fluid macro-conditions.” That means not as many people as it hoped are going to buy their stuff. All the bears, who bet on things going down in price, have been sorely battered over the last nine years. Most have gone back into the woods. They have had to rethink their whole philosophies. But as big thinking economist John Maynard Keynes said, the markets can stay irrational longer than traders can stay solvent. Indeed, the market is always right. Its prices are not too high or too low. They simply represent our current group delusion, our collective madness, a general psychosis. If ever one believes that cannabis stocks are the next big thing, or if you launch a therapy business with no patients, but which calls itself blockchain psychotherapy, you are the sector leader, then that is what happens. The tulip-mania that swept over Europe is alive and kicking, in a new guise. And those who have denied the reality of the delusion have got burned. However, the economist Robert Schiller, who writes perceptively, notes that narratives do change. He has found that corporate profit cycles are short-lived. The current bumper monopoly style profits of FAANG companies will surely end. The UK government has declared new tax measures in the recent Budget. The European GDPR rules will add new forms of regulation and scrutiny. Amazon paying staff more money will cut into profits. Over the coming months you will find weekend papers carrying stories about the 1929 stock market crash, asking, “are we in for another crash?”. Steve Weismann, the famous US short seller, will talk about how is preparing for a hard Brexit and betting on a fall on the UK financial sector. In the US households will google, “stock market crash” with increasing frequency. A new belief system will begin to take hold, that we are past the top of the profit cycle. Reasons will be provided. The US economy, with its Trump tax giveaways to the rich, is overheating, and therefore the Fed is going to make money more expensive, to control inflation. The economists will argue that this will raise costs for the companies, and affect their ability to borrow money, or finance share buy backs. But, as cryptocurrencies and tulip manias have shown, its more to do with the collective belief system, than the actual-facts. Analysts talk about us entering into correction territory, or a “rolling bear market.” The fact is we have gone very high, and we have assumed it is usual to live in these heady places. We have kept depressive, troubling feelings at bay. The winners are in charge. Psychologically we have been in a prolonged manic state. But, unconsciously, we know it is going to end, and we are all going to be Mad-offed. The sellers are going to take charge, the bankers are going to have less sex, companies will lay off staff, Trump will tweet, central banks will issue statements, but stock prices will keep falling. The thing is everyone knows, at some level, including the cleverest analysts, that this a big confidence-trick, and we are all embroiled in it. The problem comes when everyone heads for the exit at the same time. Speculators gyrate between greed and fear. They always assume they can get out before everyone else; but sell-offs are never like that. They take everyone by surprise, and everyone gets hurt.
Psychotherapy is a strange business. It works with the unconscious, the areas of ourselves that we don't really understand. We are not robots, even though we might sometimes wish we were. We end up doing all sorts of weird things. For psychotherapists this is not so surprising. Our rational minds are only a small part of the picture; most of what we seem to do is irrational. Falling in love, making love. Workplaces. Families. Thoughts. Feelings. Creative and destructive acts. Repeating things we know that don't work. Much of this is inexplicable. Yet, in therapy, patterns and insights emerge, then disappear, then reappear. Something happens, although it may be difficult to pin it down!
Pick up your Sunday newspaper and you can read about what you should be doing. Meditating more? Better sex? More exercise. Sleeping. How to be nicer. How to barbeque better. How to worry less. Psychoanalysis has a different take on life. It starts off with the premise that we are complicated and contradictory creatures and that we do things because of who we are and the world we live in. This includes our genes, family background, personal characteristics, and our conscious and unconscious experiences. Psychoanalysis works through allowing this story to emerge in words, images, and experiences between analyst and analysand. The therapist does not provide guidance; but they do help them unravel the various threads of their life.
Psychotherapy is about the meeting of two people and their minds to work over a problem together, in private. The analyst Bion said that the meet of analyst and patient creates an "emotional storm." Its a chance to talk about things without doing anything, or telling each other to do anything. Although something always happens, visible and invisible. It is impossible to predict what the outcome of the therapy is going to be. Its not like surgery. It depends on the two personalities meeting and what happens next.
Thinking together about a difficulty can be an antidote to needless medication or mindless action. In the US over 100 people die every day through the effects of pain killers. Therapy can provide an alternative form of pain relief. It can provide an alternative to an hour of shopping, drinking, internet browsing, drugs, fighting, procrastination, depression and anxiety. In depth psychotherapy can offer new and profound possibilities even when things seem impossible. The good thing about psychotherapy is that you are not expected to be cured, or happy. It allows space for your emotions and thoughts to emerge in all their complexity and contradictory forms. It can be extremely rewarding and life-changing, containing and revitalising. In our culture of quick fixes and the pressure for instant results it can feel somewhat counter-cultural to put so much effort into something which assumes that real change is slow and painful, difficult and treacherous. Yet, the feeling that someone is thinking and feeling alongside you, sharing your troubles, can also bring immediate relief and joy.