As I wrote two weeks ago, I think the new book Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life is the investment book of the year. While the book was not written as an investment book, I think Mimetic Theory is one of the most important things to consider in today’s investment markets, especially with the rise and power of social media.
Lucky for me, the author Luke Burgis agreed to a written interview to dive deeper into the financial implications of Mimetic Theory. Here are some of the highlights from our exchange:
Baffled by things like Dogecoin? People are literally betting on the rise and fall of mimetic desire, and intelligence has little to do with it. This is not a game of “out-smarting” the market or other investors, but “out-desiring” them, in a way.
We often term it “sentiment”; it can’t necessarily be described in rational terms. Market sentiment is a way of talking about mimetic desire.
There is an importance of drawing from sources outside of investing and business. Most investors are caught in a self-referential and circular loop. If investors are looking only to other investors for investment advice, everyone is caught in a reflexive mimetic process.
If you’re making investment decisions simply to keep up with or beat the returns that you’ve heard someone else has achieved (whether or not they really did is another story…), then you’re being driven by mimetic desire that will undoubtedly lead to very sub-optimal decision-making.
Which mimetic desires do we need to starve, and which ones do we need to feed? Which mimetic desires will make you a better investor? Those are questions each one of us needs to answer.
I hope you desire this interview as much as I did!