Don’t think, react

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I have a friend who is a very unusual and cosmopolitan blend. Satoshi is a Japanese guy who grew up in the deep south in New Orleans who I met when we worked together at a German bank in the high yield market in London ten years ago.

He has this expression he always used that seems to fit the economic period we’re living through. You see, despite Satoshi’s worldly cosmopolitan charm, he grew up a typical American southern kid playing typical American sports like football — I’m talking American football, not the British version. So, think Peyton Manning — except Peyton’s 5’9″ and Japanese (I think they may have even gone to the same high school, although Satoshi is older).

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Anyway, Satoshi’s football coach used to ride him hard whenever he thought Satoshi wasn’t doing what he was supposed to out on the field. The coach would ask Satoshi, “what the heck are you doing out there,” in far more colorful language. Satoshi would respond, “I thought…,” at which point his coach would cut him off and render the line:

“Don’t think, react!”

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Needless to say, that’s exactly what central banks and governments are probably going to do to ‘solve’ our economic crisis. Don’t be surprised when they come up with some ridiculous bailout plan that is doomed to failure. These people are politicians and they need to be seen as fixing things. Their modus operandi may well be to be seen doing something, anything, to stem the tide of recession, house price decline and foreclosure. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

Translation: don’t think, react.

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