Sunday 4 December 2016

Brendan Keenan: No return to our 'animal spirits' but a little less fear would be welcome

Renewed growth is likely to have a significant psychological impact

Published 03/06/2010 | 05:00

ANIMAL spirits we can all understand, but what do you call their opposite? Whatever it is, we seem to be suffering from it. A cynical nudge and wink is the most common reaction to suggestions that the economy is at a turning point or turning a corner or whatever expression you prefer (thank goodness, 'green shoots' seems to have finally withered as a metaphor).

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People just don't believe that sort of thing. The kindly dismiss it as wishful thinking, whereas the unkind say it is just an attempt to drum up business. Yet a turning point must come sooner or later.

The news that car sales for the first five months were better than the whole of 2009 is the latest bit of evidence that it may have already occurred -- even perhaps that the economy grew in the first three months of the year -- and that we merely await official data.

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