A new report from mental health experts at the Institute for Sanity Studies released today argues that markets are showing all the signs of suffering from bipolar disorder. ‘We have been approaching this in all the wrong ways,’ Dr Spurious argues, a longtime leader in his field. ‘We must understand that this is a very serious condition, and must be treated accordingly, if we are ever to see the rehabilitation of the markets.’
‘The signs are all there. The classic manic phase of the disease often manifests itself as a supreme overconfidence – sufferers are likely to engage in new, risky projects with an unsustainable enthusiasm and delusions of grandeur over their likely success. Periods of mania are often followed by the depressive phase – characterized by anxiety, panic, hopelessness and self-loathing, and a complete inability to restore self confidence.’
‘We can see that the irresponsible sub-prime lending spree is a classic example of an acute case of mania; now what we are observing is the natural cycle from mania to the depressive phase. Unless we recognize this problem for what it is, we will have no hope of treating the markets and ensuring once again that they are contributing members to our society.’
This comes at a time when politicians, publics and governments worldwide are expressing frustration that hysterical markets are failing to respond to their reassurances. Depression and panic attacks continue to wreak havoc on the global financial systems.
‘I just don’t know what to do any more. I feel that I’ve been there for them all I can, and given so much support, but just nothing will reassure them,’ says Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen. ‘We used to get along so well, but this constant panic and paranoia is destroying our relationship. I just don’t know how much more I can take.’
Governments worldwide have welcomed the study as an important step in understanding the markets’ increasingly irrational and erratic behaviour over the years.
‘It’s a relief to be able to give it a name,’ says George Papaconstantinou, finance minister of Greece. ‘I cannot deny that the people of Greece have been deeply hurt by the way the markets were treating us. Now we understand that this is a medical problem. It’s so much less painful to realize that it wasn’t personal. I only hope that now we can work together to overcome these difficulties, with the full help of all the treatment medical science allows.’
Others have taken a less sympathetic view of the study’s conclusions.
‘It just goes to show that they aren’t up to the job,’ said radical activist Julia Walters. ‘This condition is treatable but it is not curable, and indeed may be a genetic predisposition of the markets. We can’t trust the markets to make a rational assessment of things, end of story. We need to find a saner, calmer alternative. Like anarchism!’
Conservative politicians have rejected the findings of the study, saying that what the markets really need is to ‘pull their socks up and get on with things.’ David Cameron spoke today with BBC reporter Sandra Johnson. ‘Frankly, I think these are just excuses. This alleged ‘disease’ is actually a myth, invented by Labour politicians as a means of keeping poor people trapped on welfare and stopping them from taking responsibility for their life choices. To then attribute markets’ behaviour to this fabricated disease is simply ludicrous, and a slap in the face to the hardworking families of the British nation.’
‘We all have our ups and downs,’ he said, ‘but this is no excuse for not pulling our weight. The markets’ behaviour is simply the result of Labour’s overbearing nanny state policies. Our new reforms of incapacity benefit will ensure that the ‘mentally ill’ can be empowered to take responsibility for their lives. Nothing cures ‘depression’ like long grinding hours working for the minimum wage scrubbing toilets, and the markets can be no exception in this new era of responsibility.’
The debate continues.