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Opinion: Folly, money and pain

JK Galbraith was attacked as a communist for his red covered book on the great crash of 1929 – an event my Grandfather recalls well. This is a good reminder that folly springs eternal in human affairs, especially with regard to the money, which happens to be how we keep score in so many of our affairs.

Tuesday, May 5th 2009, 9:57AM

by Russell Hutchinson

Galbraith really caused offence not just by making fun of people, but by saying that “after all it’s only money”. Few were amused at the time, and right now people aren’t pleased either.

“Something must be done!” everyone cries.

But even as we take our financial misfortune so much to heart in the west, the fall in the price of oil, rice, and wheat associated with our slump is a boon to the world’s poor who have a real risk every day of not just losing their livelihoods, but their lives.

For insurance advisers the abiding mystery of the crash is that the same people crying out in financial agony declined the insurance afforded by saving more and borrowing less.

They are of the same stripe as the people who daily decline to pay insurance premiums. They have failed to grasp, as Chris Unwin of the Risk Store puts it, the fact that “the opportunities lost as a result of that premium are many times exceeded by the opportunities created by the payment”.

So, although you don’t want to be a misery-guts, when you sell insurance it’s always a good idea to remind people that bad things can happen.

« Opinion: Screwing up the recessionOpinion: Life Brokers have a bob each way in professional associations »

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