Understanding Animal Spirits: A Guide for young entrepreneurs

Posted in News & Press  ·  2nd April 2024

“Animal spirits,” a term coined by economist John Maynard Keynes, refers to the emotions and instincts that influence economic decisions. For young entrepreneurs, understanding these psychological factors can be crucial in navigating market trends and making informed business decisions. Here’s how animal spirits can impact your entrepreneurial journey:

Key Components of Animal Spirits

  1. Confidence: Optimism or pessimism that drives consumer spending and investment.
  2. Fairness: Social norms influencing business practices and customer relations.
  3. Corruption: Ethical behaviour impacts trust and market integrity.
  4. Money Illusion: Perceiving value in nominal terms rather than real terms.
  5. Stories: Narratives that shape market expectations and economic behaviour.

How Animal Spirits Affect Entrepreneurs

  1. Market Fluctuations: Be prepared for sudden changes in investor sentiment and market conditions.
  2. Consumer Spending: Understand that consumer confidence will affect sales and demand.
  3. Investment Decisions: Your investment choices should consider the current economic mood and market trends.
  4. Policy Impact: Stay informed about economic policies influenced by animal spirits, as they can affect your business environment.

Practical Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

  1. Monitor Market Sentiment: Keep an eye on consumer and investor confidence indicators.
  2. Build Trust: Maintain ethical practices to build long-term trust with customers and investors.
  3. Stay Flexible: Be ready to adapt your strategies based on changing economic narratives.
  4. Educate Yourself: Learn more about behavioural economics to better understand market dynamics.

Relevant Quotes from John Maynard Keynes

“Animal spirits are a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.” – John Maynard Keynes

“The markets are moved by animal spirits, and not by reason alone.” – John Maynard Keynes

Recommended Books and Research

  • “Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism” by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Shiller: This book delves into how psychological factors affect economic decisions and market outcomes.
  • “The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money” by John Maynard Keynes: A foundational text that introduces the concept of animal spirits and its impact on economic theory.
  • Research Paper: “The Role of Animal Spirits in Economic Theory” by Roger E.A. Farmer: Explores the theoretical underpinnings and implications of animal spirits in modern economics.


By understanding and leveraging animal spirits, young entrepreneurs can better navigate the complexities of the market, make informed decisions, and drive their businesses toward success.

For more insights, consider exploring resources on behavioural economics and Keynesian theory.


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