News from the world of science with some pretty grim implications for the global economy as it currently exists: men — rational, level-headed, decisionmaking men — aren’t actually very well equipped to handle important financial decisions at all; it’s like they’re getting the male equivalent of their periods, but all the time. In fact, men are so beholden to their volatile hormones that their prominence in the world of finance may actually doom the whole system to inevitable, testosterone-fueled collapse.
A new book postulates that the nature of financial markets combined with the physiological effects of testosterone make for a veritable clusterfuck of overreaction, which ends up exaggerating both good and bad news and artificially prolonging both booms and busts. This conclusion is based on research that analyzed traders’ spit during several market sessions which found that men working in the high-risk, high-reward setting of the world of finance experience hormone fluctuations that could seriously interfere with their ability to make good decisions. Per Bloomberg,
This simple fact should have big implications for how we think about markets. Market participants aren’t the rational automatons of most financial theory. They are biological organisms responding with a neural and physiological apparatus designed millions of years ago. If what happens in markets affects hormones, these in turn alter behavior and feed back into the markets.
In other words, The Invisible Hand exists, but it can’t come to the phone right now because it’s on some powerful pain killers after it got mad and smashed through a plate glass window and needed like 50 stitches. And actually, it might be more accurate to refer to The Invisible Hand as The Invisible Testicles.
I’d say this probably applies to politics, too.