flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘5 stages of loss

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, action & the financial crisis

This time last year we were definitely in the first of the five stages of grief.  Denial: we couldn’t quite believe that the bankers had blown a hole below our a waterline.

A year later, economists at least, have moved on.

The Governor of the Bank of England said

“The sheer scale of support to the banking sector is breathtaking. In the UK, in
the form of direct or guaranteed loans and equity investment, it is not far
short of a trillion (that is, one thousand billion) pounds, close to two-thirds of
the annual output of the entire economy.

To paraphrase a great wartime leader, never in the field of financial
endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one
might add, so far with little real reform.” (Governor of the Bank of England,
in a speech, 20 October, 2009. )

Yes.  One trillion pounds sterling, 66% of the UK’s annual GDP of 1,4 trillion pounds has been put aside to mend the hole, lest it sinks the entire ship of state.

I don’t think the man and woman in the street quite grasps the size of the hole.  If they did, they would have stormed the life-boats.

Professional economist are beginning to look at alternatives

The economists are beginning to debate seriously though.

Do we cut back hard to pay down our national debt – for which you and I must read – government debt?  Should the government stop spending like we might when we’ve just had an overseas holiday and put too much on the credit card?  Cut out all the luxuries till we have paid off our excesses?

Or do we need Keynesian economics to get out of this?  That is, should we spend money from the center to create a ripple effect?  For example, should the government spends 100 pounds on a new school, who pays the builder who pays the suppliers and who pays their suppliers who pay the supermarkets and who ultimately pays me.  All of us take part and we all pay tax and don’t claim benefits?

Ann Pettifor’s talk on Keynesian economics is 20 pages long.  If you are not an economist, put aside a couple of hours to get through it. It is worth the time.  First, it is clearly written.  You will understand the issues. Second, it is well written. It is nice to know that someone in England can still write a great speech (though she appears to live and work out of the States now).

Where are economists on the grief cycle?

So the economists are beginning to look at the facts.  What stage of grief are they in?  We need to know this so that we have a sense of how long the dilly-dallying will go on.

  • None are really proposing action.  The actions of others, yes, but not their own.  But they are along the track.  I would say the independent economists are around the bargaining stage – if we do this, it will be alright!
  • The Governor of the Bank of England, though admirably witty, seems to be further along around the depression stage. I do hate writing that.  It feels like tempting fate.  It’s relevance is this. It’s important to have a sense of when we will move collectively out of the state of shock and deliberation.  And it is important for younger psychologists reading this to store away a sense of how long community’s take to recover psychologically from extreme shocks so they are better able to lead when shocks happen in the future as they surely will.

We are gathering ourselves for action

We are still waiting for the leaders whose plans are not contingent.  We are still waiting for the leaders who say this is what I am going to do. This is what I am wholly committed to doing ~ so much so that I don’t have to say I am committed.  You see it in my eyes. You see it in my focused attention.  You see it in my invitation to join me.

We have a way to go.

Is Web2.0 healthy?

The critics say not.  They are so wrong but in one aspect they are right.

In the past, when we dithered, we doodled or watched TV.  Now we can express our dithering in a blog.  I am doing that now!

All around me I have seen signs today of people dithering

Let’s take the US blogosphere for a moment.

“Let me be clear,” as politicians are wont to say these days.  I am not American. But I an infinitely curious about Obama.  I watch politics and economics generally and I have a Google Alert for “Obama”.  Every day I read anything and everything that is written about Obama!  I have an ongoing and thorough sample.  This is what I “hear” from America.

America is in a panic

And they are projecting their panic onto Obama.  “Obama is dithering,” people cry.   Uh-uh.  Obama is going like a train.  But the bloggers are dithering. Oh, the bloggers are dithering.

Let me explain how I read dithering in the average blog post

Tendentious

  • Almost every blog post that I read about Obama ~ for him or against him ~ is tendentious.  It is clear that the author has a position that goes something like this.  I am uncomfortable about the world and I am uncomfortable in this world.  And then they follow that view by a ragbag of ragbag of stuff that Obama did.  It’s a jumble of unrelated stuff that reflects what the blogger is feeling.  I include the Huff Post in this sweeping generalization.

Circular

  • The weirdest part about this stream of muddle coming out of the bloggersphere in the US is that bloggers think that something might change when they write what they write.  Such narcissism!  Their superficial logic goes like this.  “Obama is wrong.  I say so.  Obama will now do what I say is right.”  Will he?  Do the bloggers really believe they have that power to blackmail change by voicing their ill temper?  Or is their logic even more weird?  “Obama will not change and so I can carry on being uncomfortable and whinge and whine until eternity?”  Become a “whinging pom”?  Well why not?  Maybe that is the destiny of fading empires.

Irascible

  • I think that the blog posts are a from of dithering.  They are a form of dithering as people decide what action to take.  I lived in Zimbabwe most of my life and I used to say there that when you start complaining about Mugabe it is time to get a life.  I use complaining about Heads of State as my rule of thumb that someone is losing the plot!  The complainer doesn’t even know the man (or woman).  They have no influence.  Their narrative is, and can only be, displacement activity.  It is a expression of bad temper, no more or less.

Scared witless by our own decision

  • But not all displacement activity is bad.  It is good when we recognize dithering as a signal that we are building up to take a decisive step in our own lives.  We have made the decision already.  That decision is made.  But we haven’t taken the first step.  The first step scares us silly.  So we rant, rave and complain about others!

What is the decision that has scared us so?

  • I think a certain amount of dithering is helpful.  It helps us muster the energy and commitment for the journey.  It helps us say goodbye to what must be left behind.  It helps us tidy away what we want to find on our return, much as we tidy an apartment before we leave on holiday. The big question though is what is the decision we have made.

What is going on behind the appearance of sulking?

Writing this, I realize that I should read American blogs with these questions in mind:

  • What decision(s) have been made that American bloggers are winding up to put into practice?
  • What decisions are they delaying (possibly unwisely)?
  • How does their procrastination affect me (and to be frank advantage me?)
  • When I act, how will my actions affect them? (They are far away and I am not very important so not very much ~ but the question should be on the general list of questions.)
  • When I comment on their blogs (if they let me ~ many are blocked off), what could I say that is useful to their story?

What decisions have been made in the US by the ordinary blogger?

Many seem to be trying out a policy of sulking?  But maybe there is something more interesting going on underneath?

Dithering

So yes, I am dithering. I am writing about American bloggers dithering to avoid doing some tasks of my own.   Have I managed to move from futurology to presentology?  Have I managed to bring myself to a state of action?

  • I think so.  Americans (as a rough group) are in the stage of bargaining.    In the 5 stage process of grief, they may slip through a period of depression when they realize that they have to start living again.  Then hopefully they fall in love again with life as it is.  We are close to the end.  For people interested in these processes ~ people have take a year since Lehman’s collapsed to get to this point and America had an election in the middle.  That might have slowed down the process of adjustment.
  • In the meantime, I can try to understand the decision that American bloggers have made but have not yet enacted.  What is scaring them silly?  When I understand that, I will find their blogs more enjoyable.  They will sap my energy less.  And I might make some friends along the way.

Great weekend to you!


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