Michel Pireu Columnist

People like to hear that the world is going to hell," historian Deirdre McCloskey once told the New York Times. It’s true. Despite the record of things getting better for most people most of the time, pessimism isn’t just more common than optimism, often it also sounds smarter. Why is that? Morgan Housel, at the time writing for The Motley Fool, came up with five reasons: 1. Optimism appears oblivious to risks, so by default pessimism looks more intelligent. 2. Pessimism shows that not everything is moving in the right direction, which helps you rationalise the personal shortcomings we all have. "Realising that things outside your control could be the cause of your own problems is a comforting feeling," says Housel 3. Pessimism requires action, whereas optimism means staying the course. Pessimism is "SELL, GET OUT, RUN", which grabs your attention. You don’t want to do nothing when you might get hurt. 4. Optimism sounds like a sales pitch, while pessimism sounds like someone trying ...

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