Friday, March 13, 2009

Confidence Building

In talking about how lousy the economy is, people keep talking about the excess of fear and the crisis of confidence. As if it is an emotional problem. As if the economy and the consumer needs anti-anxiety meds or therapy.

But here's the thing, a bunch of people lied and cut corners and made mistakes and did irresponsible things. They were not regulated or supervised and they lost a lot of money for a lot of people who thought that they were making good investments, who thought that they were making safe investments. And that has had a domino effect.

What allays fears and increases confidence is evidence that the institutions and people that you are doing business with are reliable and deliver.

What allays fears is evidence that these institutions and people are accountable for their actions and decisions and the demonstration of trustworthiness. Evidence, not public statements carefully crafted by PR firms and communications offices. Transparency might help too. The more information that you have the better. What exactly are the banks doing with the money that we've given them in the bailout so far? What is the rationale for what they are doing? What are the expected outcomes besides bonuses and remodeled corporate offices?

Confidence has a foundation. It is does not come from sunshine and rainbows. You have confidence when you encounter a demonstrated ability, dependability and competence.


C-Belle said...


Groucho said...

Just to what they do in China when political or business leaders are caught abusing the public trust... Hey, it might not be "due process", but on the other hand it's not "due process" to exempt the bastards from processing, now, is it?

faith said...

I will quote Ms. CJ Cregg, who was, granted, talking about a potential case of fictional mad cow disease, and say:

"What I meant was that the public will not forgive a President who withheld information that could have helped them or saved lives. Second, in a crisis, people need to feel like soldiers, not victims. Third, information breeds confidence. Silence breeds fear. That's my argument."