I don’t care.

Okay. I’ve reached saturation. I will henceforth not be listening to any news about the economy, its meltdown, how the world has gone to hell, how I need to prepare to eat more bread crusts, etc.

I just don’t care.

I don’t care about the S&P 500, the Hang Seng, the Nikkei, the Dow, the TSX. I don’t care about housing starts, job loss numbers, GNP or GDP. They are equally meaningless numbers over which I have no control. But they are held out as measures of, well, something. Something that is supposed to variably make me feel happy or sad.

I have no money in the market. I never have. I don’t care if you’ve lost money in the market: it’s your fault for trying to make something out of nothing. Too bad.

I’m not about to lose my business to the bank because my business has never borrowed money. I don’t believe in borrowing money from banks. I don’t believe in businesses that need more capital than is naturally available within the community.

I don’t care what the economic pundits on CNBC and CNN say. I don’t care what the head of the Federal Reserve says. I don’t care what plans the Finance Minister has for stimulating the economy. And I especially don’t care what the Dragons think we should do.

I think it’s absurd to continue to try to plug our fingers into a dike that we ourselves have constructed, while trying to maintain that somehow capitalism is a natural state, and what we’re going through is a natural disaster. If your house falls into the ocean, maybe it’s time to stop trying to move the ocean and think about somewhere else to live.

All of this is a distraction from anything that’s actually important about life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

And from now on I refuse to be distracted.


oliver's picture
oliver on January 22, 2009 - 15:04 Permalink

c.f. John Donne on that island business.

Stephen Pate's picture
Stephen Pate on January 22, 2009 - 15:28 Permalink

Hmmm, good sanity idea. In 1983 during the really bad recession — like 19% interest rates but before rich people invented the bail-out — I discovered a cool trick. You take how much money you need to get by (which shouldn’t be too much) and divide by the GDP of PEI, Canada or the world. The amount is so small, survival seems almost like a charm. Somewhat Buddhist approach. Note I put my freewheelin website not the frantic one.

Deane's picture
Deane on January 22, 2009 - 15:58 Permalink

The problem is that it doesn’t matter if YOU care about the economy. It affects you either way. Whether or not you had any money in the market, your client’s most certainly did. And that will likely affect you.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 22, 2009 - 16:04 Permalink

@deane Yes, but I can’t do anything about that. So it’s not worth my time to dwell on. (And my clients are old-school New Englanders who keep their money in the wood shed).

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on January 22, 2009 - 16:10 Permalink

While I generally share this distaste for the coverage, I’ve been trying to figure out how this is different than saying something like: “I don’t care about coverage of people who lost their homes in hurricanes, because I was smart enough to build on high-ground.”

Part of the problem may be the very idea of international news. It’s (probably?) good to know what’s going on around the world, but does it matter if you aren’t going to do anything about it?

Neil Postman:

How often does it occur that information provided you on morning radio or television, or in the morning newspaper, causes you to alter your plans for the day, or to take some action you would not otherwise have taken, or provides insight in to some problem you are required to solve?”

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 22, 2009 - 16:16 Permalink

Hurricanes are not something we can control; they are an inevitable part of the natural world, and while we might be causing more of them, or fewer of them, through our modification of the climate, they are not a human construction.

We talk about “the economy” like it was the weather when, in fact, it’s a system we’ve made up.

I’ve not disinterested in the world, and I’m not shutting myself off from the news. I just don’t think it’s particularly interesting to keep a constant eye on the score, because it’s not a game that I’m playing in.

Ann's picture
Ann on January 22, 2009 - 16:25 Permalink

STOCKHOLM (Dow Jones)—Nokia Corp. (NOK), the world’s largest mobile phone maker, Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected 69% drop in fourth-quarter net profit as the result was hit by lower sales, and said it now expects 2009 industry mobile device volumes to decline approximately 10% from 2008 levels.

It said it expects the decline to be greater in the first half than in the second half of the year. It previously expected that mobile device industry volumes would decline at least 5% in 2009 from 2008.

Net profit for the three months to Dec. 31 came in at EUR576 million, missing analysts’ expectations for EUR977 million. Earnings per share fell to EUR0.15 from EUR.047, against expectations for EUR0.27.

Analysts had expected Nokia to post a weak result after the company warned twice during the fourth quarter that its markets were being hit by slower consumer spending.

Andrew MacPherson's picture
Andrew MacPherson on January 22, 2009 - 16:35 Permalink

There is a difference between worrying about something you can’t effect and caring about the “innocents” affected by fall-out. I’m with you while I do invest in the stock market it is very cautiously and balanced. My employment was chosen to weather tougher times. We bought an affordable condo five years ago in Calgary because we could easily afford it and didn’t overextend to have a house here like everyone else.

I say “innocents” with quotes because there are people seemingly incapable of being cautious. Some of those are simply oblivious while others are willfully oblivious to the risks. Since Christmas I have met with several companies who will be or already have laid of employees and while I agree these people have taken a risk and have to accept the consequences I still can’t help but care about them and their families.

On the bailouts I have mixed views, they are only appropriate if they are tied to structural changes to the way our economy works. As you point out Capitalism is not and never has been a natural self-governing system. It is a legal construct that we as a society have built and can and must change to be more sustainable.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on January 22, 2009 - 16:38 Permalink

@Ann Nokia lost more money than expected. This may effect my income, granted. But, short of going out and buying a few extra mobile phones, or working harder, does knowing this improve the conditions of my life at all?

Derek Martin's picture
Derek Martin on January 22, 2009 - 17:08 Permalink

The stock market has evolved into a big under-regulated casino, and the business pages are largely a racing form. You won’t be missing much. I’m sure the information you actually need will find it’s way to you or you to it.

Ann's picture
Ann on January 22, 2009 - 17:19 Permalink

Well, if you can lose income or could lose income and do not need to know that, I think you’re one lucky puppy.

I’m with you on the Dragon’s Den “news report”, BTW. A new low for CBC.

Marian's picture
Marian on January 22, 2009 - 21:47 Permalink

For “My Financial Career,” by Stephen Leacock click on the word Marian below.

Marian's picture
Marian on January 22, 2009 - 21:49 Permalink

There are a whole bunch of old ladies whose pensions depend on the stock market and/or the state of the economy being relatively stable.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on January 22, 2009 - 23:22 Permalink

Right on Ruk! (I’ve read all the comments and accept the sincerity of the objections, but…) As I see it the one advantage of a stock exchange is that the best and brightest (and the dasdardly and crooked *along with* the plutocracy, can have access to money. Granted the plutocracy have hugely preferred access to market capital, but the rest of us can hope for a life which rises above an incarnation of a Monty Python-esque pleb.

We’d have no Internet (as we know it) if not for the (M)market, and that would be fine with me. I said as much (in a public interview) thirteen years ago.

BTW, Pete, I shut the noise off just before the millennium — perhaps you’ll agree with me that there never was a period (not in my 32 years of involvement) where the public talk of Internet was more intense (emphasis: tense). I was a mass-media junkie until then. I sucked it all in, I researched the background on up to five or six stories a day, I compared that to the market news, and all that I compared to the market performance. I figured out that *if you pay very close attention* you can walk into the market and nearly steal money from people/investors who think they can put money in the market — over the phone —, go about their business, read the headlines once in a while, and check in with their broker once in a while to drink in the profits. They always lose.

Regardless, it’s an economy which produces no net value to the planet. All it does is shift money from the plutocrats and skews it (about 2 or 3 percent) toward a meritocracy.

Olle Jonsson's picture
Olle Jonsson on January 23, 2009 - 09:05 Permalink

Hehe, Kevin. In conversation a few days ago, I heard the term “social parasite” being uttered in reference to real estate brokers. “They serve no purpose in society, they distort the market prices, and evict people who use otherwise unused houses.” Made me smile. It’s all in the perspective.

Oh! http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/… has some neat etymology on “realtor”.

Chris Corrigan's picture
Chris Corrigan on January 25, 2009 - 21:08 Permalink

Unless you are in the market, it doesn’t make any sense to follow it. I’m in, but in for the long term nd it deosn’t make much sense for me to follow along with the day to day.

John Ralston Saul once said that the stock market indices are substitutions for God. When something happens, we look to the market to see how it reacts, as if it is a thing that can pass judgement. In our secular world, God is a ticker.

And every tick up or down can absolutley NOT tell you what the future will be, so whether you have a job or not, the progonostications of pundits have no bearing on the future.

Yay for stress free living. Just deal with what is in front of you.