Living in a bubble?

Bank Repo Real Estate

A few months ago I was reading an article in the The Atlantic titled, Infectious Exuberance. The article is about the factors that led to the meltdown in the housing market. What caught my attention was the way the author spoke about mood. As a student of cultures, I see the strong dynamic that mood plays for whatever culture I may be a member of. It could be the community where I live, the church I attend or the company where I work.

Robert Shiller, pointed out that the underlying factor that is always present in similar situations of a boom is contagious optimism. When we had the Internet bubble bust in 2001, we could track the contagious optimism that guided the decisions of investors who felt that the market was going to continue to rise indefinitely. This same enthusiasm was at play when we felt that housing prices that had been rising rapidly in many areas would continue to do so.

When history is considered, it would show us that in a world of capitalism there has always been rise and fall. This rise and fall is predictable and absolute. So what is it that keeps us from seeing the inevitable when we are in what Shiller calls a bubble? He points out that these bubble are social phenomena. Going further, I feel they are a collective mindset that has a simple story attached to it, “you can get rich without creating anything of value yourself.”

This mindset is so intoxicating that you can only see a reality that supports the mindset. Those that are not infected by the mindset see the world much differently. The know about expansion and contraction and watch diligently for the inevitable change. I mention this to you because this same phenomena of bubbles can be at play in every aspect of our lives.

Now we are on the other side of the economic bubble, the bust part. It isn’t really much different than the boom. In the bust phase, we believe things will continue to get worse. This pessimism continues and, just like the boom phase, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy until it runs out of steam. Then the next boom cycle will begin.

There are some who say we are in such a down swing that the next up cycle won’t happen for six or seven years. I don’t know. What I do know is that we are in a time of adjustment. This boom thinking has run its course. This time around there are different characteristics than in previous busts. For example, for the most part everyone is affected no matter where they live. We have build a very interdependent social and economic system. In past bust cycles, the impact was felt in multiple places, but not everywhere. This is why it is difficult to predict when something will change to move out of the bust cycle and what the change will look like.

I am very curious to watch this cycle to see where it leads. What about you?

Until later,


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s