Frustration Friday: Fear Itself

I spent a lot of Frustration Friday's ragging on the people that brought us our current financial meltdown and assorted other economic and business incompetencies.  I don't think I can be blamed for it, and if you do blame me for it, I probably don't care anyway.

But I want to turn it down a notch for a moment to talk about something related to the subject of "morons that helped the economic meltdown."

I think they're afraid.

Let's take a look at the average person involved in loan scamming, weird investment foofaraw, and in general people who've run their business (or the economy) into the ground.  I'm guessing that despite their other negative traits, they've got to have an inkling, however repressed, that they've done some massively stupid things that screwed the world up.  It may be no more than a scintillating spark of tepid regret, but it's probably there.

Now, let us consider how these people must feel when that twinge of guilt and realization hits them, if only for a mere moment of ironic introspection.

They must feel afraid.

What do you do when, down deep, you know that you helped screw up the lives of millions?  Of billions?

What do you do when you realize, if only for a searing split second, that you are responsible for the horrors you see in the news?

What do you do when you realize, before you repress it, that those people yelling on the news are yelling at you.

Simple.  You've got to feel afraid.  Not even a specific fear, just the general horrible fear that everything has gone to hell, you're one of the responsible parties, and you have no solution.  It's the fear of failure, of retribution, of unsurety, of disgrace, and more all roled into one painful pill to swallow.

So, I'm not calling for us to all pity the politicians, pundits, and scam artists who got us into this mess.  But I am noting that it might be easier to deal with our economic problems and the Great Recession's fallout if we remember that some of the folks that got us into this are probably terrified of what they've done.

After all when you're scared you can face it, or you can avoid it.  What kind of tactics are we seeing right now . . .

Steven Savage