animal spirits

bethemasterofenglish

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello.

The following is from The Economist.

"Nimbleness is replacing clout as the most prized quality. Business models which seemed like fortresses—such as large numbers of big supermarkets—can look like a prison when habits change, say to online shopping and convenience stores. As businesses strive to remain agile, they do more with less, replace fixed costs with variable ones, and put long-term plans on hold. That may work for them—but it does nothing for those sought-after animal spirits that fire the wider economy."

Then, what does the sentence, "
but it does nothing for those sought-after animal spirits that fire the wider economy." mean, in particular, why "animal spirits"?

thank you.

 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think it's referring to Keynes. See the relevant Wikipedia article:

    "Animal spirits is the term John Maynard Keynes used in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money to describe the instincts, proclivities and emotions that ostensibly influence and guide human behavior, and which can be measured in terms of, for example, consumer confidence. It has since been argued that trust is also included in or produced by "animal spirits"."
     
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