Don Polovich/ Rapid City Journal/AP Photo/
It's an old question, but one being asked a lot these days. How much of the collapse is just fear?
"Stop the insanity," wrote Glenn Schorr a UBS analyst. "It's all confidence, it's not reality"
And here where I live in Baltimore, the Fortune 500 company Constellation Energy's stock plummeted after what the rating agency Standard & Poor's called an "acute crisis of confidence." (Warren Buffett is now buying it.)
I asked Jeff Frankel at Harvard about all this yesterday. He said sometimes running makes a kind of perverse sense.
"If you're in a stampede, you look pretty foolish" standing still, he said. Plus, "you get killed.
"So it's not exactly irrational from the individual viewpoint."
I thought about this later. People talk about the wisdom of the markets.
Sometimes it's the wisdom of the herd.
Maybe we need one brave cow. Or cow herder, I guess.
Maybe that's the government.