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How to Get Rich Investing in Stocks by Riding the Electron Wave

Personality and Persistent Incorrect Conclusions

Stock-Markets / Forecasts & Technical Analysis Jan 24, 2013 - 12:13 PM GMT

By: Submissions


Mark Blair writes:

‘ . . . we are all too often swayed by emotion rather than reason, and for the most part by emotion of which we ourselves are only imperfectly aware.’ Charles Rycroft, Anxiety and Neurosis

             It is noteworthy that so many analysts correctly comprehend the ‘quality’ of the present socio-economic model – that its spectacular failure is baked in the cake – but (repeatedly) misapprehend the ‘quantity,’ that is, when the failure will occur. We are discouraged from recognising this particular elephant in the room (and some others); but now – almost a half a decade into the GFC – it really is time to broach the subject.

             Firstly, though, let’s take an excursion into this field from a different angle. It will give us a feel for a perspective, an analysis, that I hope to make as ordinary as salt on boiled eggs:

classical left political theory overestimated to a fabulous extent the readiness of ‘the working class’ to revolt. Authoritarian communism gained traction in only a third of the world; and, in that part, it needed a great deal of help from a great deal of cadre with guns. (Note: men, not nursing mothers.)

Left theorists claim that the reasons for this failure of the masses to rise up in their own interests proceeded from things like ‘pre-revolutionary conditions’ and ‘inauthentic preferences’ and ‘false consciousness.’ That is – and this is pivotal – it has always been people’s acculturation that has prevented them from seeing the light. If I seem to be exaggerating at all here, consider the following:

‘Maternal instinct: probably imaginary. An excuse used to justify and perpetuate sexism.’

Tuttle, L.; Encyclopedia of Feminism

‘Every crime is the result of a given social system . . . ’

Krylenko, quoted in Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago

If these two quotations don’t convince you, read up on Pol Pot’s ‘Year Zero’ theory. The left was wrong. Full stop. Human nature is alive and well. So, try this approach:

most people become parents, and then strive to provide plentiful resources to their biological offspring. Parents are generally unwilling to embroil themselves and their offspring in a revolution that will likely trash lives (whether or not the revolution achieves its goals). However, if the plight of a family is sufficiently serious – that is, when they have little left to lose – then they may well revolt.

How do these two analyses accord with history? Mine does. The left’s doesn’t.

             Now let’s begin the essay proper. Here is my thesis:

notwithstanding their accurate comprehension of the state of the global economy, many of the analysts who persistently wrongly claim that It Is All Just Weeks Away very often fall into certain categories:

One: those with self-esteem problems, the ‘lime-light grabbers’:

why be one of the pack when you can up the ante, and perhaps momentarily be at the head of the pack? The U.S. won’t go belly up in a decade, it will go belly up in a week!!!

Consider two people, one a research scientist, the other a rock star. Sally Scientist feels personally fulfilled when she receives an award after a decade of painstaking research. Meanwhile, though, Roddy Rockstar is quite incapable of competent daily function if He is not the centre of constant attention. (I have come across the term ‘ego-stroking.’) The lime-light grabbers are clearly of the second type. They aren’t interested in being actually right. They are only interested in being (on a serial basis if necessary . . . ) the author of the super-radical focus-of-the-day conclusion.

Two: The Fervent Opposers of the Prevailing Model:

some analysts hold political positions that are almost totally opposed to those of the prevailing paradigm. They fervently desire the collapse of the present system. It’s not hard to see that that their hatred of the system might well lure them into concluding that it will fail all the sooner. It has long been apparent to me that the analyses of, for example, many survivalists and revolutionist libertarians (both left and right) and peak-oil doomers exhibit this trait of good-quality-but-bad-quantity.

Three: men!:

‘Cross-culturally, women were more likely to describe their ideal selves as loving, affectionate, impulsive, sympathetic, and generous.’

‘Men value competition . . . power . . . freedom.’

Moir and Jessel, Brainsex

Brown’s list of human universals (an appendix in Pinker’s The Blank Slate) lists males as:

‘more aggressive’ and ‘more prone to lethal violence’

Most readers will viscerally ‘get’ this one. The problem is that left politics remains strong enough to shout down discussion about it. My point is simple: women tend to become mothers, and mothers need a stable social environment. They aren’t the sort of people who are likely to be enthusiastic about socio-economic collapse – but a man might be . . .

             This is not an either-or, readers. Spare us the reductionist argument that being male means you reach unsound conclusions about the ‘when’ of socio-economic collapse. Instead, list a hundred analysts who have published articles with incorrect calls on quality, and check to see how many are male, and how many are female.

Four: genetic personality trait ‘number five’: ‘Openness to experience [rather than] resistance to new experience . . . ’

Tavris and Wade, Psychology

The trait is real; but in respect of our thesis, there’s a circular logic involved – how do you figure out that Some Guy is doing trait-number-five stuff because of trait number five rather than Something Else? Pretty hard, actually, unless you can strap him onto the couch for a few sessions. However, I have included it here as part of my aim to provide an introduction to the general notion that there’s a clear connection between, on the one hand, the personality types of financial analysts, and, on the other hand, the conclusions they reach. The alternative view (the classical left one, still predominant in the Governments of the Western world) is that people don’t have (innate) ‘personalities’ as such, or at best a tiny smidgeon only.

Now, before I conclude, as an almost jocular aside, let’s consider the opposite case, that of the mainstream-mush analysts. Quite clearly, they are not allowed to reach any sort of ‘radical’ conclusion. So, neither ‘quality’ nor ‘quantity’ for them at all! That would contradict the consumption-will-go-on-and-on-forever-and-ever-amen ideology of the newspapers that pay their wages. But do we wonder about the personalities of the people who come to be got-a-mortgage-and-kids financial analysts? If they know so much about finance, why haven’t they parlayed that knowledge into a billion bucks? Is it possible that personalities are in play here also? Could it be that these writers have unconsciously sought for and found a ‘mediated’ position in the rough-and-tumble world of Big Finance? They like to see their names up in lights -- but next to a flatter-belly-in-five-days advert, not in an intellectual arena that could prophesy an economic collapse that would leave them living in their cars.

 (And we are entitled to a chuckle:

several years ago, a now-ex-friend bluntly informed me that my work was rubbish because – a la Mayan Calendar – we were all gonna die! I waited patiently, then confronted him, this January, with the fact of his very existence. He assured me that his unequivocal prediction of the End of The World hadn’t been at all wrong. It was a sort of someone-famous-will-die-this-year thing. [Technically, it’s termed ‘Philosophical Idealism’; but that’s one of the things we are bypassing this time.] I told him to take a hike.)

Conclusion: it is appropriate, when considering economic analyses that make radical calls on ‘quantity,’ to look for clues to the writer’s personality, especially if it has happened more than once.

Don’t let anyone railroad you into an all-or-nothing position on this issue. Only a blithering idiot thinks that writers are slaves to personality factors (but the fact remains that, in the arena in which we operate, analyses with incorrect judgements of the time-frame are a common phenomenon!). These perspectives are an additional tool in the kit. My aim here is to strike middle ground by drawing attention to some factors that have too long been on the verboten list.

As a matter of political principle, Mark Blair owns almost nothing. He is a devolutionist, a ‘tenurist’ and a ‘centrist,’ so he is clearly one of those at risk of the g-q-b-b-q fallacy (but he knows it).

Copyright © 2012 Mark Blair - All Rights Reserved

All ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a recommendation to invest, trade, and/or speculate in the markets. Any investments, trades, and/or speculations made in light of the ideas, opinions, and/or forecasts, expressed or implied herein, are committed at your own risk, financial or otherwise. The information on this site has been prepared without regard to any particular investor’s investment objectives, financial situation, and needs. Accordingly, investors should not act on any information on this site without obtaining specific advice from their financial advisor. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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