Animal spirits are the driving forces behind the economy that are not purely economic in nature but also include psychological factors, such as confidence and fear.
Keynes believed that “animal spirits” is an important concept to understand during recessions since it causes people to hoard money and stop spending. This makes it difficult for companies to sell their products, leading to more economic issues. It also refers to the unpredictability that arises when people make decisions based on instinct rather than intellectual understanding.
The term "animal spirits" is used in finance today in relation to market psychology and behavioral economics. The emotions of optimism, pessimism, fear and confidence are represented by the animal spirits. These feelings can influence how people make financial decisions, which in turn can help or hinder economic progress. Even if the fundamentals of the market or the economy are solid, a market that is showing promise will fall if spirits are low. Similarly, market prices will skyrocket if players in the economy have high levels of confidence.
In business, “animal spirits” is the force that drives economic activity. It's what motivates people to start businesses and invest money. It can be thought of as the "gut feeling" that moves people to take action when they see an opportunity or risk in an uncertain environment.
As stated above, animal spirits also refer to the belief that humans are driven not just by logic but also by emotions when making decisions. Emotions can be present in trading as well as any other activity. It’s impossible for traders not to get emotionally attached to their trades and not feel fear or greed when things are going well or badly for them.
Market psychology driven by either fear or greed is a common face of animal spirits. In the latter case, the term "irrational exuberance" has been used to describe investor euphoria that pushes asset values much higher than the fundamentals of those assets warrant. The Dotcom Bubble was such an event in which companies’ market worth grew to remarkable levels by just adding "dotcom" to their names - where startups enjoyed high share prices despite reporting no earnings.
Later, the Nasdaq index fell by 76.81% during the crash from a peak of 5,048.62 (on March 10, 2000) to 1,139.90 on October 4, 2002. Most dot-com stocks had collapsed by the end of 2001.
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