“When everything gets answered, it’s fake.”
Perhaps you’ve heard of the tulip bubble. Or the real estate bubble or the Internet bubble or any of myriad other bubbles which have risen and then popped and left investors, or, more appropriately, speculators, shellshocked and out of pocket.
But have you ever heard of an emu bubble?
Yes, emus. Those flightless birds which are somewhere between kiwis and ostriches. In India, there was an emu bubble which left over 10,000 farmers stuck with the bill (no pun intended).
A promoter – ironically named Guru – sold farmers on the idea that they could raise three emu chicks in a shed and get paid when the chicks grew up into full-grown, edible emus. Nobody asked about actual demand for emus in India, processing plants, restaurants, or the like. Instead, what did they rely on for validation that this was a legitimate business and not a Ponzi scheme?
Yes, these people were relying on the Indian version of Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, and the like to provide trustworthiness that emu farming was the next big thing in India.
It wasn’t, yet, as one farmer lamented, “My friends and neighbours had invested – I just followed them. I believed the claims made by the firm because they were endorsed by famous actors.” (italics mine)
“Poor Indian farmers,” you think to yourself, imagining that you’re immune from such nonsense.
Yet, in our society, we do the same thing. Fred Thompson and Henry Winkler hawk reverse mortgages. Laura Ingraham and Neil Boortz hawk gold. In a previous generation, Ed McMahon hawked insurance.
Even Justin Bieber is getting into the act. He is promoting a prepaid debit card. I can only imagine what that rewards card offers, Baby Baby Baby.
Furthermore, there are thousands and thousands of people who rush to the phones to get reverse mortgages or to buy gold just because a famous actor told them to. They don’t have the first idea whether or not reverse mortgages are appropriate (in most cases, they aren’t) or whether investing in gold bullion is the right investment choice (almost always not), but because they hear it from someone they knew from another context entirely, they’re willing to bet their financial lives that it’s right.
It’s Monkey Brain at play. Who needs facts and logic for Monkey Brain when he has celebrities?
MONKEY BRAIN: “FONZ COOL. WE NEED REVERSE MORTGAGE.”
YOU: “I don’t even know what a reverse mortgage is, much less whether or not we need one.”
MONKEY BRAIN: “YOU NOT AS COOL AS FONZ. TRADE IN LEATHER JACKET FOR REVERSE MORTGAGE.”
You get the idea how this is playing out in your limbic system, whether or not you realize what’s going on.
Why does this happen? Here are some reasons: