According to psychologists that study personalities, some people tend to believe that what happens to them depends mostly on their own choices and actions - they are said to have a high internal locus of control - while other individuals give more emphasis to chance and events that they can't control - high external locus of control.
Studies have shown that this locus can play an important role in terms of a number of areas. For instance, the unemployed with a high internal locus of control tend to send more job applications and to wait longer until they obtain a better job offer, as shown in a paper presented at a recent conference on economics and psychology.
What about the locus of control of the Portuguese economy, in particular with respect to the current borrowing challenges and the dismal economic growth record? Are the policy choices over the last 15 years to blame - or is it all the fault of the "speculators" and the financial crisis?
The presidential election could have been a fantastic opportunity to discuss this and make sure that any errors made in the past are not made again in the future. Alas, the strange noise from BPN and BPP deafened any attempt at shedding some light on whose fault it is that we are where we are.
At least it is relatively clear that the media should shoulder some of the blame for such a noisy public debate.