The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Economists, both Keynesian and other in bent, have at least one area of commonality: The belief there's an aspect of economics that numerical studies or analysis of plans and policies can't explain. It's the behavioral aspect that drives consumers to spend and businesses to take risk: in Keynesian lingo, "animal spirits." In classical econo-speak, "confidence." We entirely agree with the theoretical construct that mathematics can't fully capture all aspects of economics -- and this is one category where that applies. But still, some folks seek to actually quantify confidence. Whatever you choose to call it, universities and business organizations have for decades attempted to quantify this phenomenon through surveys and the like. There's the University of Michigan survey. There's the Conference Board's. And there's a smattering of others, fully global in their reach, all an attempt to look inside the guts of consumers and figure out how hopped up they are to spend.