A story posted widely on the Internet goes like this:
There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.He was hard of hearing so he had no radio.He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers.
But he sold good hot dogs.
He put up signs on the highway telling how good they were.He stood on the side of the road and cried; “buy a hot dog, mister?
And people bought.
He increased his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.He finally got his son home from college to help him out.
But then something happened.
His son said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio?Haven’t you been reading the newspapers?There’s a big depression.The European situation is terrible.The domestic situation is worse.”
Where upon the father thought, “well, my son’s been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know.”
So the father cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.
And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.
“You’re right, son” the father said to the boy.“We certainly are in the middle of a great depression.”
The moral of the story is that phenomena such as depression, recession, etc are self-fulfilling prophesies. Negative sentiment can lead the world through a downward spiral.
Our Finance Minister, Mr P.Chidambaram, believes that the converse is also true. Keep harping on the few positives, try to keep the sentiment in check, wish away the problem and hope that the economy will hold up, at least till the elections. “Cut prices and boost demand” he exhorts the industry. “Go out and buy more” is the Friedmanian sub-text to the consumers.
If you are not sure what to buy, here is some help from the Smart buy section of BusinessLine.
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