MICHEL PIREU: Courage, fear and the curious nausea that hits markets
The only way to know how much food you can eat is to eat until you’re sick. Same for markets, which occasionally vomit
Megan McArdle, an American columnist and blogger who wrote under the pen name Jane Galt — playing on the name John Galt, a central character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged — had this explanation for those caught in the internet bubble: “Seriously, think about the way evolution has programmed us to learn. We are, by nature, fearful beings. But fear will only get you so far in this imperfect world, and so nature has also equipped many of us with a modicum of courage and a taste for novelty.
“Those people try new things. If disaster doesn’t ensue, they try them again. If that works out, they do it a third time. Each time they lose a little more fear … and a few more, slightly less courageous people are encouraged to try it. After the eighth or 20th repetition the entire tribe is eating pterodactyl steak or riding railroads or investing in the stock market...