A week ago, I was in the gym gazing at a bank of monitors that carried a variety of subtitled shows about the GFC. One was an MSNBC show featuring Ivanka Trump as a guest. Responding to a question from the host, she noted that there are still lots of people out there looking to buy an apartment but that they will now visit a property three, four, even five times before making a decision. Ms. Trump owns a diamond jewelry business and the story there is similar. Buyers are out there, albeit in smaller numbers, but their behavior is characterized by extreme caution.
It came to me that we’ve killed off our impulsive side and replaced it with ill-placed belief in the power of rational caution. We’re still a nation of buyers, but we no longer trust our instincts. We’re freaked out, and this is our response. As I see it, the problem with this is that we are a species with a highly developed instinctive ability. In fact, most behavioral scientists and Malcolm Gladwell now agree that we don’t do very well in the world when we think too deeply about what’s going on.
The thing that will rescue Trump Enterprises from another hard year is the very same thing that will rescue all of us from this recession: the confidence to once again trust our instincts and be impulsive again.