This morning I looked for an hour at CNBC -- a channel for those who love to talk about prices. They talk about changing prices as if it is the largest joy in life, and the most important matter in the world.
To be more precise: they talked about stock prices. What do you think of stock prices? Do you like them? Do you read them?
I've always skipped stock prices in newspapers, I don't even saw them really. But now I was looking at them, for an hour, and they couldn't escape my eye as they moved on and on on the screen, and as the men and women on the screen seemed to have the most lively and amusing conversations about them.
Suddenly someone pops in from France. A nice looking man, typical Frenchman, impeccable English, with a nice French accent. Then an Italian businessman, the businessman of the year !, pops in, also in impeccable English, with less of an accent than the Frenchman. He is a bit older than the Frenchman and does not wear a tie but a black pullover. The Italian is more relaxed -- he seems to have made his fortune already. Or do those who have gained a fortune always want more?
Then a lady walks back and forth on the screen, not doing exercises but pointing vividly at man-size graphics with... prices ! She seems to enjoy them, and seems to think that we enjoy then too. Do you?
My brother (Herman) said in a comment to my previous post that he was not amused when he saw the prices of his stocks fall. He lost (a lot of?) money. I promised him to write a comment on his comment.
The above is, in part, my comment. I could say more about it but hesitate to say too much as it has already become clear how I think about stock prices. Gaining and losing -- it's all in the game.
What about pensions and pension funds. I obviously hope that my pension will not be wiped away by a crisis. That's why I'm engaged with crisis prevention for already more than 25 years...
No, I was kidding. The real reason I'm engaged in crisis prevention is that I am concerned about people whose living conditions are much less fortunate than mine. I don't have any reason to be concerned about my own fate. I do worry, however, about other people's fate.
I remember vividly a letter from a (poor) Chilean friend of mine who lost his savings in a banking crisis in Chile. I also remember vividly my worries about my brother who had to face exorbitant high interest rates after the change of monetary policy in the United States at the end of the 1970s, just after he had emigrated to Canada and had to indebt himself to set up a dairy farm.
So here you have my thoughts, brother.
On the picture you see my brother and me, not yet discussing stock prices.