Gittins! endorses catatonic ignorance

In a video that defines the ethos of a generation, Ross Gittins this morning comes clean with his frustration that you are interested in what happens overseas and in the future. As an alternative he endorses blind optimism (or should we call it catatonic ignorance) as the way forward for you and your family.

Please watch this video. In it Gittins! lambasts you for paying attention to the world around you. He lambasts the media for endeavouring to fathom what the future holds before providing his own predictions. He lambasts you for listening to “experts” (except himself of course, and the psychologists he cites who have diagnosed your condition as ” an illusion of control”).

He suggests instead that you just get back to buying more stuff.

Unwittingly, Gittins! has exposed the very baby-boomer ethos of endless and pathological optimism that brought us (yes, including Australia) to its current debt-laden impasse. Decades of don’t worry be happy policy-making and media clap trap has surely pushed everyone to take on more debt than was ever sensible.

It is only fitting that such a world view end with the advice that you stick your head firmly between your legs.

Houses and Holes
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  1. I just realised that they (Gittins, other clueless boomers) are mistaking ‘confidence’ with ‘confidence to take on debt’.

    So the issue isnt a lack of confidence…its a lack of confidence to keep taking on debt.

    This is what the perma-bulls never were able to distinguish

  2. This reminded me of one my father’s sayings “sometimes it can be dangerous to think too much or too little”.

  3. Oh dear! I am speechless!

    Looks like Gittins! is channeling Douglas Adams’ Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal – it thinks if you can’t see it, it can’t see you.

    Head down, a** up, that’s the way we like to … err… work.


  4. Its identical to the sort of tactics that Johnny Howard and Jeff Kennett used to use to shout down their opponents. Anyone who didn’t agree with Jeff when he was at the height of his power in Victoria in the 90’s was “un-Victorian”. John Howard liked to lamblast the chardonay set for objecting to his approach to the Gulf War and Afghanistan etc etc. and try and equate anyone who didn’t agree with him as somehow being supporters of terrorism; he also went on record as saying that people who talk about economic sluggishness are part of the problem and should therefore keep their mouths shut.

    Ross Gittins doesn’t understand that by trying silence commentary on the softening property market (and information about it out of the mainstream media) there won’t be any difference in the outcome…

  5. His work seems like that of an undergrad eagerly trying to explain to his Professor that he understands what he is learning and that he “gets it” from an insiders perspective.

    He is an accountant afterall and is trying to look after his employers’ interests!

  6. Tomorrow never comes. Unless you’re Greek and the bill for the rich not paying taxes and civil servants not turning up to work (before retiring at 45) suddenly comes in.

  7. Add this video to the ‘archive of shame’ that we can look back to when TSHTF and use as a reminder of the poor advice we got from our ‘experts’.

    Plus it’ll be fun just to rub it in his face.

  8. Gittins’s argument is not advocating ‘blind optimism’. Rather, he is saying the majority of the population have no idea what is going on, so they follows wherever the mob is heading. The media, by selectively choosing which ‘experts’ to report on, can foster a sense of euphoria or panic in the general population. It’s a mug’s game.

    His conclusion however is seriously flawed. Ignorance is not bliss. Instead of blindly relying on “experts”, people should do some reading and decide the issue for themselves. In the case of Europe, you don’t need a PhD in economics to realize it’ll end as a total disaster.

  9. He lambasts you for listening to “experts” (except himself of course, and the psychologists he cites who have diagnosed your condition as ” an illusion of control”).

    But we do have control. We can take our money out of equities and into cash, or bonds or gold, and save ourselves from the losses of the coming crash.

    Gittins! is effectively railing against people educating themselves about economics and financial markets, which is bizarre, considering he’s spent most of his career lecturing the public on these very subjects.

  10. Regardless of how the economy goes Australia seems to be in for a storm as the Boomer generation gives way to Gen X and Y which seem to have substantially different views…

  11. innocent bystander

    Smile and Die.
    Smile or Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World by Barbara Ehrenreich

  12. So we shoudn’t question the ‘experts’? The very ones that are implicit in leading us up the garden path & shearing us to death??

    I’m surprised he didn’t throw the ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ warning line in there somewhere – it worked so well for their generation on the way up – at the next generations expense!

    I need to watch this other vid again just to get a balanced view on how I should act…. AT least he’s got both eyes open.

  13. Summarising and paraphrasing Gittins!:

    ‘No one know’s what’s going to happen, experts don’t know what’s going to happen, finance people don’t know what’s going to happen, no one can accurately predict the future……… here’s what I think is going to happen in the future…’

    • Contradition is a key TOOL in the economics er tool bag.

      Oh and we predicted that would happen… but we can’t see into the future…

  14. I can’t see what the big problem with Gittins is.

    Australians have a history of being subjected to relentlessly fearful and negative commentary on economics every day (often, let’s face it, with an agenda the commentator is pushing) so hearing some mild optimism is a bit refreshing.

    What do you want to hear? Some gold trader or market manipulator telling you the end of the world is nigh?…buy/sell/panic!!!! all while picking your pocket.

  15. I agree H&H, good analysis is why I come here.

    But the average punter gets subjected to so much relentlessly negative B.S. in this country that someone like Gittens might actually be doing some good by trying to balance that out.

    Turn on the TV or radio and it’s wall to wall rent seekers peddling doom and gloom.

    …and yes, we’ll all be rooned.

  16. I think Steve Keene had the riposte to Gittins in his Debtwatch article “It’s the debt, stupid”. You just have to add “also applies to Australia”.

  17. Gittins! appears drunk. Now imagine if he was wearing trackies, with his paunch visible under an ill-fitting T-shirt, rambling on and taking an occasional sip from a flagon in a brown paper bag at a bus stop.

    Would you listen to this man?

  18. During a “garden variety” crisis, it really doesn’t matter whether
    you listen to the 98% of experts who don’t understand the situation, or the 2% (like Steve Keen) who do. You’ll come out OK
    in the end either way. It’s when you are in an epic 70 year global
    financial crisis that it DOES make a difference. Following the
    advice of the first group, you will experience a Wile-e-coyote
    moment when you discover just air beneath your feet, as you
    gaze at the canyon below. Unfortunately, if you were to follow
    the advice of Keen with respect to the unsustainable build up of
    debt, your most productive decisions would have been taken
    long ago.

  19. His main point was spot on – it is an ‘illusion of control’ we seem to think we have. He is right. We have NO control at all over future global economic forces. None, nada, zilch, zero.

    I don’t think Gittins was supporting ‘catatonic ignorance’ nor ‘blind optimism’, rather a reduction in the endless hand-wringing, second guessing, gloom embracing groupthink taking place – Cassandra’s at every turn. Enough already!!!

    Remain informed on a general level re global issues. Remain cognizant that there is NOTHING we can do about these issues. Some may choose to adjust investment positions. Most have little such opportunity. Remain aware that even ‘experts’ disagree on scenarios for the future. Eurozone may disintegrate, US enter deep recession, China falter – we cannot alter the course of these events if/when any/all unfold. The outcome for Australia may be considerably better or considerably worse than ‘experts’ advise. Any or all of this may or may not happen – tomorrow, next year or in five years. Too much angst devoted to the uncontrollable and unknown.

    Adopt a Taoist mind!

    ‘To know that you do not know is the best. To pretend to know when you do not know is a disease.’

    ‘Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them-that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.’

    ‘Muddy water, let stand, becomes clear.’

    Gittins advice: “Chill”.