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View Diary: Morning Feature: Animal Spirits, Part I - Irrational Economic Actors (72 comments)

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  •  Building airplanes from sticks......... (10+ / 0-)

       Back in WWII, airfields sprang up on many a Pacific isle, where there'd been none before. Times were, for the locals, the best in memory. When the war ended, the G.I.s and the airplanes went away. Times were bad again....

      The native islanders tried to get the good times back by building airplanes out of sticks out on the runways, because when these big "things" were out there, the times were good. (There's a term for this in psychology, I think).

      I sometimes feel that, if we are not actually building the stick airplanes right now, we are at least in the process of gathering the sticks, hoping the economy we once had will return. May events prove me wrong!

      Hi Krew!

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 05:03:56 AM PDT

    •  We may think we are building an airplane (6+ / 0-)

      but there's a guy on the runway hauling off the sticks we've gathered and selling them back to us so we can build an airplane out of them. At least, he's selling us the sticks he doesn't haul off to build his mansion, trade with his small circle of friends, or use for firewood.

      Good morning! and ::huggggggggggggs:: to the Kula Krew and all. :)

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government is incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Wed Jul 08, 2009 at 05:34:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Magical thinking" ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... is the psychological term you meant, and yes, that's also one of our animal spirits.  I think Akerlof and Shiller would include that in stories, but it would have to be factored in somehow.  And yes, if our expectation is to return to the golden age of the 1950s, we're building stick airplanes ... because those days are gone.

      Good morning! ::huggggggggggs::

      •  Definition of "magic" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        One definition is this: anything that you can reliably make happen, but that I don't understand, is essentially magic to me. The way you do it may be very methodical, have a sound scientific explanation, whatever. It's still magic as far as I'm concerned.

        Mark Twain played with this idea in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. IIRC, his protagonist dislodges Merlin as chief magician of the court by first predicting an eclipse, then striking a match. Both things appeared miraculous to the primitive Brits in the story.

        I occasionally experienced a version of this effect in my career as a commercial artist. A lot of people believe that there's no way they could create art, and when someone can, it's like magic to them. Therefore, they have no problem requesting (or demanding) radical overnight changes to a project that took weeks to develop. Why not? It's all just magic anyway. If you can change a bushel of grain into a loaf of bread, why not change a gum wrapper into a magnificent palace?

        •  That happens too. (0+ / 0-)

          Although "magical thinking" means something a bit different in psychology.  It refers to our mistaking coincidence (I thought of rain, it rained that day) for causality.  In this case, the coincidences were aircraft on the landing strips - rather than the war and the people in those aircraft - and availability of modern foods and medicines.

    •  I have a friend who is 84 (7+ / 0-)

      and last year he took his great grandson to one of those scanty islands in the Pacific where he was based. He had similar stories to the one you relate here.

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