Hunter's Moon at Dusk 2010

Hunter's Moon at Dusk 2010
View of Hunter's Moon Spectacular

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Flawed Economic System - Could Neurosis be the Cause?

A more sophisticated economic theory leaped out at me one day when I decided to leaf through the alumni publication sent out by my old alma mater. Usually nothing interests me about those days of old because nothing is same there anymore.

Page turn. In this beautifully done publication, a photo of an interesting looking man was situated next to a caption. It pressed for an answer : “What kind of shopper are you ?” I hoped it wasn’t anything trite like a ten question quiz. It wasn’t.

The man in the photo, Paul J. Albanese, studied economics but changed over to psychology when he couldn’t agree with the teachings of economic theories regarding human behavior.

He believed the predictions and forecasts about people in modern day society are different now. Marketing forecasts should be based on a few more categories of types of people and what kind of behaviors come from each.

According to this new perspective on economics, four different personality categories branch out in varying degrees of intensity. Believed to provide market researchers with more accuracy and detail – Albanese describes normal, neurotic, primitive, psychotic in that order. More gray area to ponder is that the not-normal folks have good days when they may pass as normal.

The Normal type consumers earn their namesake category because of being consistent and predictable. Neurotic shoppers are ambivalent, indecisive individuals. Primitives are a pain in the neck to everyone around them. Compulsives will max out a credit card, and spend every dollar they have when binging on excess. Psychotic shopping is the low end extreme where people have been arrested for passing bad checks.

Albanese: “Typically when marketers do research, there’s an implicit assumption that everyone they’re using as research are [functioning] at the normal level. And unless they are at the normal level, their behavior might not be consistent, causing the research to be flawed.”

Does he mean to imply that greed isn’t part of the equation? What about avarice?

The flawed research may be what Greenspan referred to in his public apology speech in late October 2008. He seemed to be quivering as he spoke of the flaw in his thinking. He stood up to take responsibility for his part in the financial crisis. apologize for the errors of his wrong thinking.

If we have a new economic reality to deal with – what is it? And if we are suddenly supposed to do business by this new reality, what was the old one? How did we succeed with the old reality if indeed it was so very wrong? I think it comes down to morals.

A generation of noble folks is passing on. Now we have people doing business who are of a new belief system, can be from any part of the world, of any religion or lack thereof.

More on the psychology of economics: Ignoring these nuances could influence the premises that the marketers use for judging a trend as well as the motivations behind the trend. After twenty five years of research, the economic psychologist states that a marketer must be able to distinguish someone who has bipolar disorder from someone who simply operates at the primitive level.

We’ve had fun with statistics and calculating the variables with the amazing speeds our computers have computed, but now it’s time to soften the edges of the cookie cutter. The economic system that once operated on trust, can do so no more – that’s where the tear in the fabric became a flaw.

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