Financial Doom – Current Best Sellers

MSN Money

Go ahead and read those apocalyptic books on the economy if you like a good scare. But be sure you recognize fiction when you see it.

By Jim Jubak

If fairy tales express our deepest fears, then investors must be on the verge of a psychotic breakdown.

The current crop of financial gloom-and-doom books carry titles such as “America’s Financial Apocalypse,” “Financial Armageddon” and the comparatively prosaic “The Coming Economic Collapse.”

Any way you go, it means the end of the world (the end of the financial world, anyway). And that’s scary. Really, really scary.

But we need to remember that while fairy tales may reflect real fears, they aren’t reliable guides to how the world works. That’s true whether the main character is named Snow White or Ben Bernanke.

Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and Bruno Bettelheim all theorized that we read fairy tales about evil stepmothers, parental abandonment in dark woods and child-eating witches to help us express and then cope with our darkest fears.

The psychological value of these tales, in this theory, lies in the formulaic, repeated return to archetypical fears in what the reader knows — even a reader as young as my 6-year-old daughter — is a fiction. It also helps that, unlike real-life horrors, these tales usually have happy endings.

This current crop of financial-disaster books should be read the same way — as financial fairy tales that represent our darkest financial fears and then allow us to cope with those fears by offering up happy endings in the form of investment strategies that can fend off disaster.

So what are investors’ deepest fears right now? Continue reading