Hope For The Best: Curing The Economy (And Society) With Optimism
What’s the point? What difference does it make? Nothing’s going to change.
We’ve all had these thoughts of pessimism cross our minds and the last few years certainly haven’t helped. Natural disasters, war, the pandemic, social injustices, and the like are unavoidably plastered across the news, stripping any glimmer of hope we citizens have remaining. What reason is there to be hopeful?
Is it important for society to stay informed about current events? Of course. Without knowing about the catastrophes or shortcomings that others are enduring, our growth and development as a society become stagnant and our faults are at risk of replication.
However, our outlook is just as important as a socioeconomic factor, with the ability to completely alter decision-making at all levels and create economic turbulence.
So, how do we create hope? Or are we just stuck in an endless cycle of cynicism?
Manufacturing Hope Through the Media
The problem isn’t that we’re shown bad news; it’s that we’re only shown bad news.
Sensationalized events make the headlines each day, yet we don’t hear about the great things that are happening around the world.
Wonderful things of all magnitudes are happening everywhere: A man going out of his way to return a lost diamond ring worth $40,000, John Cena granting 650 wishes for sick children, and a duo from Wall Street helping wipe $6.7 billion in medical debt for millions of Americans are just a few pieces of good news from the last couple of months that you probably didn’t hear about.
For every bleak, horrendous, and frustrating event that’s broadcasted, there is, in equal measure, a comforting and uplifting story that’s worth reporting on. And we already have the means to distribute good news to millions of people who, according to an Insider Intelligence report, spent 13 hours and 11 minutes per day with media.
Digital devices, mainly due to the popularity of social media, have disrupted the traditional news industry (i.e. television, radio, and print) and have a much greater reach than television. According to recent studies by Pew Research Center, the percentage of U.S. adults that often get news from television decreased from 40 percent in 2020 to 31 percent in 2022. Additionally, the same study showed that the percentage of U.S. adults that prefer getting news from television decreased while the preference toward digital devices increased.
All that’s missing is a mainstream media network willing to dedicate itself to promoting a positive outlook on the world by incorporating faith-restoring truths with real-world events.
Optimism as the Cure for the Economy
Hope isn’t simply a feeling we have. It has real-life implications.
Take the economy, for example. Our forecast for the future of the economy determines what we do today which, in turn, affects the future economy.
Expectations play such a strong role that they actually drive the economy by shaping people’s decision-making at all levels. A negative outlook can cause consumers to spend more conservatively and businesses to hire less.
Additionally, the position of our outlook can create systematic differences between our expectations and rational, statistical forecasts. Economists refer to these differences as “belief wedges.” According to a recent survey by the University of Michigan, households that expect higher inflation also tend to expect higher inflation relative to what the economic model actually predicts. Meaning, our hopeless expectations create a hopeless reality.
But this “belief shock” works both ways. While we overestimate economic outcomes based on negative biases, we also underestimate the adverse future outcomes when we are optimistic. Simply put, if we feel good, we spend more, hire more and push the economy forward.
Our perception, at the end of the day, is reality. We can see the effects that sensationalized bad news is having on the economy firsthand. If we can manufacture hope by giving the positive side of humanity a greater platform, we will start to see the effects ripple not just through the economy, but throughout our society.
So, is there a point, will it make a difference, and can things change? Yes.
Bio: Valentino Danchev is a successful businessman in the resort industry. He is the CEO of Fidelis Marketing Group and founder of The Chilpayate Foundation, a non-profit organization aiding children and their communities, and author of “MY GIFT TO THE WORLD 24 Inventions & Ideas to Eradicate Poverty, Disease, Death & Energy Crisis”
This article has been published in accordance with Socialnomics’ disclosure policy.