The Fear of Fear Itself

With the United States & Europe mired in depression, newly elected US president Franklin D. Roosevelt. delivered these words in his first inaugural address:

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.

March 4th, 1933 - Full text here

We think often of these words when daily is seems like our politicians and media come up with new ways to terrify us.   Sure, fear gets our attention, but fear also prevents us from making good decisions and can force us into making bad decisions.

5 days into the New Year, here are the headlines of the past week:

  • Stock Markets Shudder After Chinese Stock Plunge Forces a Trading Halt
  • US Stocks Have the Worst Start to a New Year Ever
  • North Korea Says It Detonated Hydrogen Bomb for First Time
  • Iranian Protesters Sack Saudi Embassy
  • Iran accuses Saudis of hitting Iran's embassy in Yemen
  • Obama's Tears Over Gun Control Prompt Conspiracy Theories

Read the entire market commentary here.