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The news seems more and more pessimistic about the prospects for recovery and growth in the west. Are Americans Worried About a Double Dip? was one story, and Strategies: A Market Forecast that Says Take Cover was another–just two of dozens of editorials written on the same theme.

It may be that this is partly a response to falling market values over the last several days. It might also be that investors are responding to negative reports by analysts and the shared pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. A Bearish forecast brings down investment, jobs go missing, output drops, income drops, more bearish forecasts.

The traditional idea of the business cycle says that resource prices drop during a recession, and that brings new opportunities for investment and profit. Keynes explained that prices may be static for long periods of time, despite surpluses. While politicians have embraced Keynes’ suggestion of deficit spending, public fear of huge debt remains a big part of the argument, just as it did in the thirties.

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