When Keynes used the term "animal spirits" he was of course referring implicitly to the spirit of bulls and bears.
In the area of investment, he was talking about how when investors feel confident they simply charge forward - like the bulls in the stockmarket; or retreat, like the bears.
Keynes was an ardent stock investor.
What happens in the stock market also happens in the world of real investments.
In an inter-connected world where specialisation has made everybody so interdependent all over the world, that it is insufficient for one component of the supply chain to feel confident.
The whole chain must feel confident. And that can only be done when they all follow each other sheepishly.
For that to happen, they must be foolish enough to listen in someone in authority and tell them a big white lie - that everything is going to be all right - that the worst is going to be over - and things are going to pick up soon.
In the Information Age when the average person is pretty well informed, the credibility of that someone in authority is often tested - and proved to be wanting.
Nobody believes in politicians anymore.
After Greenspan, nobody believes in central bankers anymore.
Investors therefore wait for the other to act - to be the greater fool.
Hence, the tendency nowadays to put the toe in and quickly jumped out.
Investment proposals are designed like daylike robbery - to fool the general public - who is foolish enough to commit his or her credibility so that banks can achieve x% of loan growth so that the bank ceos can get fantastic bonuses.
The stock market is no more a place for creating liquidity for long-term investment - it has become a leper camp where those who enter it become permanently damaged.
Serious research and long-term investment look foolish - not so smart.
Be clever and be a millionaire in no time - by cheating the market - and the general public.
In the process, we all cheat ourselves.
We have become animals without the spirit.