The readers choices for the first quarter’s most popular posts suggested the continuing pre-occupation with the financial crisis and its solutions sat uncomfortably with the recovery in the equity benchmarks. One of these developments seemed to be wrong. We suspect, for many readers, it was the stock market.
The human tendency to perceive very low probability events as being more likely than they really are is the observation that unites all of the quarter’s most read posts. These improbable outcomes include building a multi-billion-dollar business in one’s garage, the breakup of the eurozone, or solving a complex problem with a seemingly simple solution. Enjoy
The financial crisis has spilled over into a number of little-discussed areas. These areas have formed the subject matter of the top three blog posts from last quarter.
The third spot went to a post that recounted the tale of a crisis-scarred consumer who had prepared early for the worst and is still waiting for economic and social meltdown. The second reveals what crisis-fighting policymakers can learn from technology leader, Apple. And the most-read post of the quarter focused on the new incentive plan of one well-known fund management firm. Enjoy.
There is a wide-angled slant to the preferences of July’s blog readers. All of the month’s top-three posts took a step back to consider the broader implications of issues such as fund managers’ personal investment in their own funds; the eurozone debt crisis and German taxpayers’ living standards; and the long-run outlook for stock returns as a result of the Great Recession.
Who said people were tired of reading about the eurozone debt crisis? All of the top three posts from the month of June focused on the evolving situation in Europe. The third place was taken by a light-hearted article that went right back to the origins of the EU to see where things might have gone wrong. The post in the number two spot explored the possibility that one of the mooted solutions – eurobills – might see the light of day whether policymakers want it or not. Finally, the most read article turns what people typically considered to be a ‘good’ outcome for Greece’s future completely on its head.
Anyone hoping for some cheerful news from the most eagerly-awaited IPO of the decade quickly discovered that it made even grimmer reading than the eurozone debt crisis. Still, a post that explored the regret felt by Facebook’s new owners topped the list of the most popular posts in May (a eurozone-related article sneaked in at no. 3). The second of most-read discussed the impact of a financial transactions tax on the so-called Shareholder Spring.
The two of the three most read posts of the month of April concerned the way decision makers treat news – both the way they attend to it and the way they ignore it depending on whether it is consistent with their beliefs or not. The subject of the other popular post looks at incentives to good behaviour and at the relative effectiveness of positive versus negative reinforcement.
Last month’s most popular read was a post that was supportive of the notorious financial ransactions’ tax as a potential solution to the key criticisms of the workings of the City highlighted in the Kay Review. The second most popular post encouraged (up to a point) readers to go out and buy positional goods, or status symbols, because people genuinely respond to them. The final post in the top three revisited the theme of groupthink. This time the decisiopn-making behaviour of EU officals battling againts the crisis came under the spotlight.
Happiness was the theme of two of last month’s most popular posts. One examined the happiness one draws from helping others and questioned the very existence of altruism; the other compared the pleasure that comes from the consumption of experiences rather than of material ‘things’. Finally, one post recounted an early opinion of the Facebook IPO – straight from the primary school.
An allegorical tale about US rating agencies was among the most popular posts last month. But the most frequently read article concerned the pay-day lender, Wonga. The firm, more accustomed to irate commentary, might find this post rather easy on the eye. The third place was taken by a post that was first published in March last year and subsequently topped the ‘best of’ list for the year. Clearly readers do not tire of criticism of economic forecasters.
The eurozone debt crisis figured prominently among the most read blog posts in 2011 so it was not surprising that an article which discussed one aspect of the unfolding drama was among the three most popular. The number three spot went to a post that looked at how long it takes for individual investors to get over extreme market experiences. But the most popular post of the year featured a sobering analysis of the group that many consider a sitting-duck for criticism: economic forecasters.
The eurozone debt crisis was never too far from readers’ attention in Novemeber. The most read posts all concerned the crisis, but from multiple perspectives - the individual, German politicians, and the European Central Bank.