Who are the markets?

25 May 2010

The stock markets have been quite wobbly today, because of continued worries over the eurozone sovereign debt, and the heightened tension in the Korean Peninsula.

What I find somewhat grotesque and utterly incomprehensible about the markets is the anthropomorphic descriptions that everyone uses to describe them and their mood. Markets have sentiments, they worry, they have confidence issues, they are happy, nay, even satisfied at times, as if it is one person. It leaves me with an impression that somehow there are a bunch of people, rather like children, easily scared or mollified but always very demanding and petulant, who form the ‘markets’ and have huge influence over people’s lives and fortunes. Markets often seem to verge on hysteria or depression, perhaps they suffer from bipolar disorder of sort or ADHD, where some rudimentary herd mentality rules the day. Guts often seem to triumph over the head. So, really, who or what are the markets?