Fear and panic in the money markets


Jürg Conzett, initiator of the MoneyMuseum, and the findings of neurobiologist Gerald Hüther

Fear and panic in the money markets

Change is a fact of our human existence. We’re all aware of that. But when change affects us directly, when our inward or outward situation changes, we don’t like the idea at all at first, especially if our lives up to that time had been comfortable and successful. The first result of changes that take place around us is often fear and panic. The attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001, or the collapse of what had seemed the rock-solid airline Swissair, or sudden unemployment, or an accident, the loss of a partner through death or divorce, a stock exchange crash – those are all things that shake the very foundations of our world. 

«Being really successful is one of the worst things that can happen to you in life!». «This quote from neurobiologist Gerald Hüther is easy to misunderstand, but it’s absolutely true,» says Jürg Conzett. «Success really can be a bad thing, because it tends to make people think ‹I know how to do it›.» 

Jürg Conzett was particularly impressed by the story of the monkeys that Gerald Hüther tells in his book «How stress leads to feelings». Researchers set up a simple experiment to test a new drug against fear and stress. They put a monkey in a cage, then fetched a dog that ran around the cage growling. Naturally the monkey was affected by fear, and the level of stress hormones in its blood shot up. But then they got a second monkey and put it in the cage with the first one. And what happened? The monkeys showed no stress reaction when there were two of them, although the dog was still running round the cage barking. That showed that friendship and partnership are the most important antidote to fear and stress in all social mammals. 

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