Debate and Discussion

Is the economy a religion?
kyupol at 5:59PM, March 6, 2009
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I wonder. Isn't it based on faith?

Because if all the presidents / prime ministers / heads of state are all coming out and saying bad things about the economy, doesn't it cause fear and panic?

And as a result – stocks go down (price of a stock is based on the FAITH on it. Law of supply and demand) and people refuse to spend.

If people refuse to spend, businesses will have less profits.

If businesses have less profits, that will mean laying off staff and doing other forms of “cost-cutting”. For instance, they will hesitate to make deals with other companies that will involve money going out of their pockets.

Its a cycle that feeds itself. And then the “money” (its an illusion anyway. Its just fiat and there's not really any inherent value in it) floating around in the economy will get less and less and less and less and less.


I wonder.

If people lose FAITH on the economy and money (its God) because its priests (politicians, bankers, economists, etc) bad mouth it… of course its gonna be a disaster.

NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:26PM
isukun at 7:55PM, March 6, 2009
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No, there is some amount of faith involves in everything, even science, which is commonly considered the antithesis of religion. Economics are based on supply and demand and some amount of probability. Stocks are not solely based on faith. There are a lot of factors which define a company's worth. Look at the oil industry for example. Their stock values and profits continued to go up when people were buying less of their products. Faith had no part in that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 9:00PM, March 6, 2009
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Faith, or belief is a massive part of it Isukun, bigger than you're admitting. Economics is a little like religion in that people follow certain defining theories of it which only have an abstract relationship to what actually happens, and sometimes no real relationship at all.

The price of shares isn't analogous to religion but that is heavily belief based… except it's more like short term, reactionary belief most of the time. Companies do report profits and losses, projected earnings etc, but share value is only based on that in part. Long term buying patterns indicate that people have researched and thought carefully, but the short term rises and falls are all the believers… plus the con-artists (trying to artificially inflate value), and the people insider trading.

Kyupol is also right in indicating that the current economic woes are caused by belief. That's not conspiracy or silly thinking, it's widely recognised: For a start you had people's faith in the idiot sub prime mortgage idea, which was illogical. That faith snowballed and created this crises when the faith proved baseless. Now banks are reluctant to give credit, not always because they aren't able to, but because they're scared about risk after what's happened (and not always sensibly- more irrational fear). That fact is causing a lot more businesses to go bust since they rely on credit to get through periods of loss. But shareholders are fearful and jumpy about loss (most of the time without any proof), so they're very prone to irrational buying patterns right now.

If economics was a nicely managed science we definitely would not be in the straights we are- unless the biggest factor in the economy was something truly variable and outside control like the weather, natural disasters etc.- as if things were only based in something like agriculture… Really, it tries to be a science but it's based on humans who are not intrinsically logical creatures, but belief based ones.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
DAJB at 1:01AM, March 7, 2009
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If it is, it certainly has enough false prophets just now!

Seriously, there are superficial similarities since - as isukun said - everything requires some degree of faith. But, if you define any two things by reference only to their similarities, you can argue they're the same. Is a car really a boat? Of course, it is. It's made of metal and used for transport. A sound argument on its own terms but I wouldn't try crossing the sea in a car.

Well, unless it was a car I'd borrowed from James Bond. ;-)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 1:46AM, March 7, 2009
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DAJB
Is a car really a boat? Of course, it is. It's made of metal and used for transport.
Not really a good comparison. Since boats and cars can actually overlap and have in many instances. :)

Or maybe that is a good comparison because in actuality it somewhat supports Kyupol's assertion, while generally being a good case for why nothing is ever simply defined by by its image in the common perception. ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
lothar at 10:50AM, March 7, 2009
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faith ??? i think a better term would “consensus reality”

faith seems to be more of a personal thing , whereas the economy is a group project, much like religion , which often has less to do with personal faith and more to do with conformity and mass hysteria
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
DAJB at 1:32AM, March 8, 2009
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ozoneocean
DAJB
Is a car really a boat? Of course, it is. It's made of metal and used for transport.
Not really a good comparison. Since boats and cars can actually overlap and have in many instances. :)

Or maybe that is a good comparison because in actuality it somewhat supports Kyupol's assertion, while generally being a good case for why nothing is ever simply defined by by its image in the common perception. ;)
Exactly my point. You can prove anything if you define it solely by reference to selective criteria.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 3:02AM, March 8, 2009
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DAJB
Exactly my point. You can prove anything if you define it solely by reference to selective criteria.
It's not really a matter of "proof by selective criteria", so much as: if you actually look into it then YES some cars are indeed boats and some boats are indeed cars.
Just like some aspects of economics are indeed religious. -without having to twist logic and definitions to make it that way :)

We come to realise that ultimately it's the definitions that are selective… lol!
In reality itt's just easier in common parlance to go by cruder, more broad meanings for words; like saying “black”, or “white” etc.

But with anything, when you actually examine it, you find a blurring at the edges. In every day communication you can't really discuss those aspects because people would have trouble understanding them, but it's perfect in this sort of environment. ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
DAJB at 3:17AM, March 8, 2009
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I'm not sure it was your intention, but I think you just supported my argument again.
Thank you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 3:36AM, March 8, 2009
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No.

Your argument is that these things have superficial similarities that can be given undue attention to wrongly make them look like each other.

I'm saying that in many ways they are each other, but for everyday communication it's easier to go by the superficial idea that they are not.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:33PM
roidvoid at 5:30PM, March 19, 2009
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i think its more of a sport than a faith… look at Jim Cramer's show. espn with 401k's!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:09PM
Polkster at 2:01AM, April 2, 2009
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If you could will yourself into not needing food to survive or never spending any money on goods to quell your boredom, then you'd be right. But fact is human beings have physical and psychological needs that, as long as we live in a society based on job specialization and the exchange of capital, will keep us spending.

Spending MAY go down in the short term, but it can never vanish as long as people are alive.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM

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