Recently, Bob Powers and Ritch Duncan (authors of The Werewolves Guide to Life)wrote a piece for this website, arguing that the werewolf would soon surpass the popularity of the vampire in a recession-plagued America. They suggested that in these hard times, 'Joe the Werewolf' was more relatable to the common (not) working man than the cool, precise and methodical vampire.
As a co-author of The New Vampire's Handbook: A Guide for the Recently Turned Creature of the Night, I know a thing or two about vampires, and I can tell you without a doubt that the average vampire has borne this financial crisis better than the average American. This can be attributed to a number of factors. For one, vampires have made a point of enslaving at least one human on the board of directors of every major financial institution since the Great Depression, in order to keep abreast of any significant market adjustments, or changes that might be coming down the economic pipeline. Vampires also have reliable and faithful servants in the upper echelons of most government regulatory bodies, so that they have the opportunity to affect beneficial change from both the public and private sectors. Also, Tim Geithner is a vampire.
But even without their high profile connections, vampires would have fared significantly better than most in our current crisis, because they have a few other things most citizens do not: old fashion common sense, a fiscally prudent nature -- and a very long memory.
To many people, vampires have come to represent a sort of fabulous wealth, an enviable reinterpretation of the old-fashioned American Dream. Vampires are popularly depicted as luminous immortals who maintain all their riches, youth, and vitality, able to live the glamorous life forever. Powers and Duncan even go so far as to deride the vampire as an out of touch "creature from the country club." In truth, the nature of the successful vampire is something far less enviable, but a great deal more accessible.
Imagine the world's sexiest economist. You're probably picturing Milton Friedman. Go sexier. Now, imagine this person to also be a sensible, practical, long-sighted, fiscally responsible and frugal being, interested in long term sustainability and stability, who carefully minds his business as if he expects to live forever. That's a vampire. And his unique condition provides him with both a historical and a personal macro view of economies as systems unto themselves.
The vampire is also intimately familiar with the microeconomy of his own night-to-night existence. Every time he needs to feed, he encounters the problems of supply, demand, and risk-reward ratios. Over time, this has taught him to be both careful and considerate. Just because he's thirsty right now doesn't mean he's willing to sacrifice an entire food source population at once to quell his bloodlust, prevent himself from hunting in the future, or worse -- to risk being found out, staked and destroyed. Instead he restrains himself, and takes only the resources he needs to be healthy and happy tonight. He also never buys more lair than he knows he can afford, no matter how attractive the mortgage.
By contrast, the werewolf is a rash, impetuous creature with an insatiable appetite that demands instant gratification, not unlike the American consumer prior to the crash. If a werewolf wants to run out during a full moon and say, maul everyone at a pep rally, just because he feels like it, he does so in a frenzy. Then he passes out, forgets about it, and usually, claims he's not responsible for what happened, sometimes even joining the outraged mob that forms to demand the werewolf be stopped, lest he kill again.
The vampire lives for thousands of years. He has witnessed countless economic and civic upheavals -- the Fall of Rome, The Great Depression, The Panics of 1819, 1825, 1837, 1857, 1873, and the rise and inevitable fall of every type of investment bubble you can imagine (South Sea Bubble of 1720, anyone?). He's also seen time and time again, the role that human folly and greed has played in nearly every one. Yet he's survived them all - because unlike the werewolf, he takes the long-term view regarding his short term actions. His own continued existence forces him to be a self-reliant creature, and so he becomes a self-preserving, self-regulatory creature as well.
In The New Vampire's Handbook, we present a chapter on finance that offers neophyte vampires income opportunities and investment strategies for the long term, as well as tips for creating their own workable 400 year financial plans. When you live forever, there is no doubt that you'll outlast financial institution on Earth. You learn to conduct yourself accordingly. When it comes to our own financial wellbeing, at least in the short term -- it might do all of us some good to think like a vampire.