BBC BLOGS - Stephanomics
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cautious message

Post categories:

Stephanie Flanders | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 13 May 2009

We agree that things are getting better. But we don't know what happens next - and nor does anyone else.

That was Mervyn King's mantra this morning as he unveiled the Bank of England's latest inflation report.

More than usual, the governor was at pains to stress the uncertainties involved in any forecast for the economy right now - whether the Bank's or anyone else's.

On balance, the Bank now thinks the economy will grow more slowly over the next two years than it did in February. It thinks inflation will be slightly higher as well. No surprises there.

The elephant in the room, if there was one, was the chancellor. Or at least, his forecasts for the economy after this year and the comparison with the Bank's.

In the press conference the governor went out of his way to commend the Budget for being so "open" and "honest" about the weakness of Britain's budget position. He said the Bank had no reason to believe the forecasts for borrowing were especially optimistic -indeed, they might well turn out to be too high.

And yet, looking at the Bank's much misunderstood fan chart showing possible growth outcomes, it is fairly clear that the chancellor's forecast of 3.5% growth from 2011 is not considered the most likely outcome by the Bank.

I tried to draw the governor on this point, but he would not be drawn.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


Sensibly, perhaps, he did not want to engage in a battle over precise forecasts, when the entire thrust of his remarks is that where the economy is concerned, policy makers today can barely see beyond the end of their noses - let alone 2011.

As I discussed yesterday, this is not like a typical post-war recession. Even if we see quite a strong pickup in the next six to nine months - and King said there were many reasons to think we would - it is very difficult to judge whether that forward momentum will be sustained.

It's a cautious message the Bank has sent us today. After the excitements of the past six months, some might even consider it dull. Then again, if Bank of England press conferences are beginning to be dull again, that could be the most promising green shoot of the lot.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    I see things have slipped back again and the ONS line on the graph has not exactly deviated on it's downward track yet.

  • Comment number 2.

    Once upon a time banking was dull and so it should return to that grey and boring condition.

    I am sorry but I don't agree that things are getting better; they are just getting worse a little more slowly. This is even though the government has thrown everything including the kitchen-sink, complete with expensed plug, at the problem. We have a long way to run on this recession (slump?) and the fat lady has not even been booked let alone chosen her repertoire.

    I feel a certain sympathy with the Governor as he is clearly not allowed to tell it how it is. I disagree that the Chancellor is the elephant. He is the guy who the elephant dunks in the tub of water. We all know who the elephant is, don't we?

  • Comment number 3.

    Obviously Mr King's long suit is "discretion".

    Anyone else would sat that the Budget predictions for growth were science fiction.

    Once these predictions ARE proved wrong, Mr Darling will not be in any job to do with finance !

  • Comment number 4.

    "we don't know what happens next - and nor does anyone else." - Look if he's a bit dumb then OK but don't start dragging the rest of us in with this nonsense. This is the similar "We don't know and as we are the cleverest people in town then that means no-one knows" arrogance. They did the same "we didn't see it coming and as we are the cleverest bods ergo no-one saw it coming" with the Credit Crunch in the first place : Eliot Spitzer the former Governor of New York and all 50 states had big legal battles - and lost - to Washington DC over the Hill-Billie mortgage bubble. Let me help MR King on the basics. We have had 20 + years living on a Chinese credit card as we do Uni-Trade with China - they sell to us but the only thing they buy from us is our 'financial assets' our company shares, government debt mortgages. We have little or no manufacturing left our much hyped service industry turns out to be nothing more than a shop where the Chinese buy out debt from - so now the Chinese credit card has run out we are not just broke - that would mean zero we are broke on stilts - massive amounts of debt and we are owned by the Chinese. So unless you use NEFS - Net Export Financial Simulation then you can revise your estimates to be 'worse than expected' from now on - and not just till "It'll be all over by Christmas" - get ready for food queues with no food left by the time you get to your turn - is there any reason why we should not descend to 3rd World poverty levels ? - what do we have left apart from psychologists, taxmen and media graduates ? Why should the Arabs sell us oil, the Jamaicans sell us bananas - we have no money to pay for them ? - where are fundamentals ? - and if you think that the unemployment figures are higher than expected get ready to revise that expectation - most people I chat to who go to work now sit at their desk and do nothing - waiting for something to happen - business can't keep this situation going for very much longer

  • Comment number 5.

    Inflation is being underestiated again by the BoE.
    Import costs are rising as contracts are renegociated at less favourable rates as the pound has fallen against other major trading partner currencies. These price increases will feed into the economy pushing up costs for consumers and business.

    Printing up to £125 billion will cause inflationary pressures as well.


    Rising interest rates will cause more problems for UK households as mortgage interest rates rise and for business as business loan rates rise.


    The government and BoE are trying to stave off a slump just to create an even bigger one in a years time.



  • Comment number 6.

    Considering the fact that Mervyn King is part of the triumverate with Brown and Darling who have dragged the economy even deeper into the mire,how much credibility can anyone give to anything he says ? Is he speaking for himself ? It's unlikely, it is more likely he is playing some deeper game on behalf not of the economy but spinning on behalf of the furtherance of the Labour party's time in office. We need not only a change of personnel in Downing Street but a change at the head of the BoE as well, since the incumbent has failed dismally in carrying out the conditions of his job description also.

  • Comment number 7.

    "We agree that things are getting better. But we don't know what happens next - and nor does anyone else."

    Well he would say that, wouldn't he.
    Imagine the impact of either BOE or the Treasury said that things were going to get a lot worse...

    I think economists should be exploring analogies with ecosystem breakdown and replacement, rather than playing with dubious mathematical models and simulations.

    What happens when a diverse ecosystem suddenly starts to break-down because of a sudden shift in local conditions? If we can work out likely scenarios, then we can encourage those that lead to the least pain by setting parameters. It may be that some parameters are no longer relevant. No point in filling a pond with water if it has developed a leak. No point in diverting a river if the river is dry.
    Interest Rates and Money Supply are too crude and unfocussed. The big corporates will gain, but SMEs will only get indirect benefit?



  • Comment number 8.

    I am concerned that the true picture may be manipulated in order to keep Labour in power. It this were true, then we are in a lot of trouble - not because of the situation per se, but because people may make investments on the back of incorrect informaton. I know it is "buyer beware" but we are all connected, as the current situation shows.

  • Comment number 9.

    OK, so we're in a better position now, but where it goes from here is anyone's guess! That's not massively useful for anyone, it's these guys' job to tell us about this recession, and they're clearly not doing it very well. A blow for anyone interested in finance, and a twitchy year ahead.

  • Comment number 10.

    Mervyn King looks to be agreeing with my earlier view about the nature of the upturn and the depth of the recession.

    However he is still unfitted to remain in his post as he was in (part) regulatory control when he (partly) caused the crisis. He obviously has no understanding of what he has done.

  • Comment number 11.

    "We agree that things are getting better."
    Yes, looking at responses to your blog yesterday, it would appear most of us agree that things are improving...

    "On balance, the Bank now thinks the economy will grow more slowly over the next two years than it did in February".
    Blimey, seeing as the economy shrank in February, the forecast for the next two years is not very rosy is it?

    "Even if we see quite a strong pickup in the next six to nine months - and King said there were many reasons to think we would..."
    But neglected to set out any of the supposed reasons for strong recovery, which leads one to think he doesn't actually see any reasons why the economy will recover...

    I apologise for my facetious comments but those of us in business, making daily decisions regarding staff levels, selling prices, buying prices, credit control, cash flow management, product development, marketing, customer service, dividend payments, etc, do like to plan for the future and exert some control over our businesses. When we see politicians and central bankers behaving in a vague manner, we tend to get a little cynical.....


    Meanwhile, Nick is in Westminster saying knickers to Westminster.....


  • Comment number 12.

    #2 "I feel a certain sympathy with the Governor as he is clearly not allowed to tell it how it is. I disagree that the Chancellor is the elephant. He is the guy who the elephant dunks in the tub of water. We all know who the elephant is, don't we?"

    Hear, hear !! And if he fails to dunk the chancellor, he'll swipe office equipment off his desk !! Perhaps he'll regress further and start throwing toys out of his pram !!

  • Comment number 13.

    Stephanie I may be going off at a tangent as I am no economist but when you say : "it is very difficult to judge whether that forward momentum will be sustained" is that because we still don't know the values and locations of toxic assets and therefore there is still inherent instability in the banking system?

    My worry is that the politicians are busy trying to talk up the economy - as they should - but are looking too much at elections while they do it.

    If we have a second crash then confidence will be very hard to recover surely.

    I have heard only bluster about improved regulation and I can't see why the HBOS credit risk problem can't happen again.

    There has been no clear analysis of what went wrong so apart from the public reaction is there any reason to think bankers won't just go back to the old ways once the fuss dies down? What will the public know of derivative activity based on suspect loans if the FSA is not beefed up or replaced and what is being done about credit ratings?

  • Comment number 14.

    #3 "Anyone else would sat that the Budget predictions for growth were science fiction."

    As I lifelong Science fiction fan, I have to take exception to this statement. Science fiction has predicted things right more often than not !! The same cannot be said of this government !! And, as stanilic (#2) said above, it was not the chancellor who made those budget predictions !!

    Of course, this government will desperately want things to recover in time for the next election and they have been bleating about this for some time now !! However, the people's own pockets will tell them otherwise and, this time, the people will truly vote with their wallets !!

  • Comment number 15.

    I worry about the Quantitative Easing route, we heard another announcement recently for more without having really seen the effects, as was acknowledged today.

    As a non property owning saver, I worry that the plan is to use inflation to wipe out the colossal debts people have taken on, prop the housing market up at still expensive levels, and erode savings.

  • Comment number 16.

    As a victim/user/consumer/saver I don't think things are getting better at all. The powers have pumped SO much cash into propping the rotten thing up that if it isn't near the bottom now then the country will go under, surely.

    It seems that economic success let alone revival is entirely dependent on conning people into consuming stuff they neither want nor need, borrowing money to do it; and urging a new house-buying hysteria: hurry, hurry, hurry or you'll be left off the "propery ladder" (how I hate that phrase and the ridiculous British affectation it represents)!

    But some people realise that low interest rates mean a chance to deal with debt; to save a little, particularly for mortgagors who know that while things are nice now, they won't be when the base rate returns to 5%+.

    Nothing good is in sight for savers, investors and those who have lost their jobs. Take all the figures and mathematics you like, come up with forecasts and multicoloured piecharts...but the bottom line is: will I have a job tomorrow and if not, how will I get by? Why should I spend when my current aim is to be free of any and every financial commitment.

    On that horizon things are bleaker than they were 8 months ago.

  • Comment number 17.

    `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

    `The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

    `The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'

    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with,....

    -------------Which is the master text for understanding Government and governmental communication strategy with the rest of us.....

    Tweedledum and Tweedledee being the 'Junior Politician' instructional text for planning and execution upon the plan (lots of talking and a fantastic amount of preparatory bluster but the event itself never actually happens....)



  • Comment number 18.

    What we need is a forecaster that specialises in forcasting the forecasts of of mainstream forecasters. One bonus of the current crash is that it has made nonsense of both MPC and the taboo of printing money. Above all of thinking that modern technological oligopolistic economies can be managed by a geeky little committee of BoE fiddling with a monthly interest rate! There is worse to come!

  • Comment number 19.

    Agree with Mr Tweedy 100% - For the bank I think it would be better if Mervyn King did not say anything as heand the government only seem to want to talk down the UK £ . every week it rises a bit then the BOE does something - says something then down it goes 1-2%.

    So old saying if you cannot say anything good - don't say it - FAO Mr King ETC

  • Comment number 20.

    "We agree that things are getting better ..."
    What a lovely idea, Mr King. Perhaps you could let me know how I join you at Alice's tea party ... or is it strictly a 'Great & Good Only' affair?

  • Comment number 21.

    'YOU KNOW WHAT THOUGHT DID....'

    "On balance, the Bank now thinks the economy will grow more slowly over the next two years than it did in February...
    ....
    I tried to draw the governor on this point, but he would not be drawn.
    ....
    Even if we see quite a strong pickup in the next six to nine months - and King said there were many reasons to think we would..."


    MrTweedy (#11) beat me to it (and from past posts, John_from_Hendon appears to hold similar views to him), but I've emphasised the points above where direct/explicit questions should have been asked. Why does the BoE/King think such things? Where is the growth going to come from? Being told that the BoE/King thinks x y and z is not helpful unless one is told what makes them assert such propositions surely, or are the intensional verbs of propositional attitude deliberate as I fear?

  • Comment number 22.

    This post opens with 'We' 'agree' and 'getting better' - Could you substantiate these comments? - or is this another attempt at 'the self fulfilling prophecy' that seems to have dominated our society in the last decade of greed?

  • Comment number 23.

    e2toe4 (#17) "Tweedledum and Tweedledee being the 'Junior Politician' instructional text for planning and execution upon the plan (lots of talking and a fantastic amount of preparatory bluster but the event itself never actually happens....)"

    Third one, 11:50 minutes in. Both were bemused by what was imminent.

  • Comment number 24.

    Did anyone notice sentiment improve as the Accounting Standards Board in the US 'bowed' to pressure from the banks(!!!) and the Obama administration to allow mark to model pricing (their own models). King realises sentiment is important and this may explain the potential 'strong pick up'.
    Unfortunately, those pesky toxic assets will come back to bite us sooner than later. The market is beginning to realise that. A weak stock market may mean weak consumer confidence figures and the spiral starts again.

  • Comment number 25.

    'We agree that things are getting better. ' - do you now, thats nice.
    In the real world with rising unemployment, falling GDP, the continuing destruction of credit and, quite frankly, a scary amount of quantitative easing (printing money), and no mention of the elephant in the room (debt), talk of a recovery next year is ridiculous.

    The fan graphs released by the BoE have always been pretty but show me one in the last 10 years that have actually been accurate - i have never seen one.

  • Comment number 26.

    Just so there is no confusion over the use of hiatus (...), I'm not suggesting that Stephanie tried to draw King on the specific qustions I raised, I'm suggesting that she should have. The context of her actual question was, of course:

    "And yet, looking at the Bank's much misunderstood fan chart showing possible growth outcomes, it is fairly clear that the chancellor's forecast of 3.5% growth from 2011 is not considered the most likely outcome by the Bank.

    I tried to draw the governor on this point, but he would not be drawn."

  • Comment number 27.

    Any sensible economist would be foolish to attempt precise forecasting at any time, never mind in the current climate of uncertaintity yet there are those that berate the BoE for not making such foolish predictions. Journalists have one thing in common - they want someone to say something concrete that can be manufactured into a headline and when they don't get that they try to belittle the sensible party whilst giving the impression that they know what's going on even if the other side doesn't.

  • Comment number 28.

    They wheel him out - big fanfare, everyone hanging on his every word - and he more or less says, "I don't know". And then they wheel back in again. Marvellous!

    Daniel Hannan summed up King beautifully when he said:

    "The Governor of the Bank of England, who is normally a rather reclusive figure, gets dragged out blinking like a mole in the sunlight from time to time..."

    Was it worth the effort: just leave the mole to sleep in his hole!

  • Comment number 29.

    A cautious banker...........

    If you look at their graphs, they are projecting a 90% chance of,
    in 12 months time: -----------

    GDP
    between -3% and +5% growth, in reality a spread of probably about 50% given the narrow range that is physically possible even for an incompetent government's capabilities in running an economy.

    CPI Inflation
    between -0.5% and +3% growth, a pretty big spread as well.

    Why do they bother issuing such information. It is so vague as to be (of course) academically correct perhaps somewhere across the pretty rainbow of probabilities, but entirely useless in all other respects.
    They shade the median a heavier tone, just in the hope that you believe that is their prediction.

    Well, it isn't.

    How on earth am I supposed to make any decisions for the future for my company.

    Regards,

  • Comment number 30.

    24 eatingantonyo

    Agree completely. Mark to market has its own problems but at least we can understand how a valuation has been reached. How can we weigh up the balance sheet if we dont know the assumptions behind the model which provided the valuation? How can we compare and contrast if different institutions employ their own differing models?

    Think I'll go back to the licked-finger-in-the-wind model!

  • Comment number 31.

    26 jaded jean

    How come you still bang on about the kabbalist conspiracy when most of us just see gross incompetence, greed, hubris and cock-up as adequate explanation for how we got to where we are?

  • Comment number 32.

    OP ED/PR

    For this entire, anarchistic, charade to 'work' as intended, all that's needed is a large number of 'feminised' journalists (of either sex) who really don't know (or care about) the the difference between an intensional and extensional context in language and know not to ask difficult questions. This way, pet journalists can be counted upon to propagate uncertainly/noise/gossip rather than informaion, whilst the sources can always plausibly deny.

  • Comment number 33.

    ThorntonHeathen # 31

    "...gross incompetence, greed, hubris and cock-up..."

    That's government economic policy. They can't help it!

  • Comment number 34.

    Speaker Martin is for the high jump of a motion of no confidence; what a pity that there is no similar way to express the Nation's feelings about the Governor King !!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    Not a lot left to say on this one! Stephanie, you are to be congratulated, for the first time (in my experience) we have 100% agreement.

  • Comment number 36.

    ITS THE DATA

    ThorntonHeathen (#31) "How come you still bang on about the kabbalist conspiracy when most of us just see gross incompetence, greed, hubris and cock-up as adequate explanation for how we got to where we are?"

    Is it possibly because most people are not very bright? Have a look at NYC demographics and tell us what you notice. Then look at London over recent times.

    How come people who aren't very bright tend to see people who are brighter/more knowldgeable than they, as 'academics' or 'intellectuals'?

    Here's a thought about group politics.

  • Comment number 37.

    LibertarianKurt (#33) "That's government economic policy. They can't help it!"

    They can when they are economic anarchists.

  • Comment number 38.

    ThorntonHeathen (#31) "..when most of us just see gross incompetence, greed, hubris and cock-up"

    Furthermore, you have to see all of the above as having been socially-engineered as integral to anarcho-capitalism, and thus minority group hegemonic advantage. The larger group builds a state. The smaller group undermines it/sells it off.

  • Comment number 39.

    I've just read through some of the BoE's Inflation Report. I didn't get to finish it, as it's a long document based mainly on assumptions and loose concepts.

    (i) It refers to data on "de-stocking", where companies run down their stock of finished goods and materials. Where the BoE gets its data from, I do not know.

    (ii) It referes to "business investment" and "service sector output", but again I'm not sure if it the BoE really knows any firm data on either of these.

    (iii) It recognises the price of some goods move more slowly in response to exchange rate fluctuations. No surprises here, as importers use currency hedging to try to hold on to favourable exchange rates for as long as possible, delaying the true impact of sterling's 30% depreciation. In other words, the BoE is finding it hard to predict the effect of the weak sterling on consumer price inflation.

    (iv) It talks about estimates for "companies' output price intentions". How can it ever get reliable data on companies' intentions?

    (v) There appears to be the belief that credit causes demand. However, at the same time the BoE acknowledges that consumers want to save more and reduce their borrowing.

    All the above seem to be mostly estimated from word of mouth, obtained by the "Contacts of the Bank's regional Agents", plus the results of CIPS surveys and CBI surveys.
    You know those surveys, where they phone you up and ask you a set of questions which don't really match your business, and so you end up answering with any old guff (such as "remain about the same" or "5% decrease compared to last quarter") just to get them off the phone....

    Now one understands why the Treasury and the BoE find it so hard to make reliable forecasts. All the odds are stacked against them.


  • Comment number 40.

    #37 Jadedjean - It would be a funny kind of anarchist that captures control of the media, governments and their agencies and then forces a few front men to shake down the general populations of the western world for something close to $20 trillion (and counting) in aggregate.

    Looks like gangsterism to me.

  • Comment number 41.

    #36 JJ

    Or is it possibly that you construct the concept of a "kabbalist conspiracy" merely to support your own desire for a totaliterian solution?

  • Comment number 42.

    JadedJean # 37

    "They can when they are economic anarchists."


    Thanks for making the case for the free-markets then. Of course, King and the BoE, government bureaucracy and the whole welfare-state apparatus are all going to have to go I'm afraid. Mind you, that's no great loss to society, is it?

  • Comment number 43.

    Hi Stephanie,

    Your posts are becoming befuddled. The "elephant in the room" is the continuing failure of credit markets for Small Medium Size businesses ( the engine room of the economy producing over 50% GDP) - the IMF saying our banks need more capital ( up to 250bn dollars)- our banks unable to fund long term lending..........the most considered comment Mervyn King made to journalists was on this critical question which could drag against the effect of QE. I am surprised that you and Mr Peston ( who seems to concentrate on the bluechips needs and wants as if they are the only beasts in the jungle) arent prioritizing this issue in your reports. The Chancellor's growth forecasts are crucially dependent on both of these issues.

    I dont agree Mervyn King's comments on the need for banks to recapitalise significantly as "dull"........or indicative of "green shoots".

    Mr Lambert of the CBI makes the same points, but not a mention from you - why?

  • Comment number 44.

    armagediontimes (#40) "#37 Jadedjean - It would be a funny kind of anarchist that captures control of the media, governments and their agencies and then forces a few front men to shake down the general populations of the western world for something close to $20 trillion (and counting) in aggregate.

    Looks like gangsterism to me."


    You have to try to see deregulation as anarchism ('without rule').

    It's what's been going on for decades and you are seeing the fallout. Hence the term 'banksters'. The Austrian School of economics (and teh Chicago School Boyz are not much different) is also known as the Anarcho-Capitalist School. This (apart from a return to the Gold Standard) is essentially what Thatcher and Reagan were busy implementing. They are anti Big-Government, i.e. state-busters. LibertarianKurt just doesn't think they went far enough.

  • Comment number 45.

    MrTweedy # 39

    "Now one understands why the Treasury and the BoE find it so hard to make reliable forecasts. All the odds are stacked against them."

    I think you are finally beginning to understand that applying empirical (historical) data to the science of economics in order to predict/estimate future economic conditions is indeed quite fruitless.

  • Comment number 46.

    The banks have received tons of cash and see things as brighter. They have been given taxpayers money and now are willing to lend it back to us at a reasonable rate...how kind. Optimism is based on the side of the teller's window you reside. Has anyone mentioned if they have a plan to replace the money that was lost in our accounts...I must have missed that.

  • Comment number 47.

    #39 MrTweedy,

    And there you have the true paupacy of the adminstrations information systems. It is frightening to think that political and economic decision making is being made upon such poor data. However, the situation is no better in any other country so that's a relief!

    Perhaps of even more concern is that those lovely people in The City and on Wall Street and other places around the globe are using aggregates of all of these types of reports from around the world to help build their financial planning models. bad news for you and me when we have to accept their interest and FX rates!

    Despite what King, Brown, Obama, Geither, Bernanke and the rest say, this mess has a life of its own and will play itself out in its own way. The best our 'leaders' can do is to help speed it up or slow it down and just maybe ameliorate some of the worst reprecussions.

    Still the sun is out and the beers cold here :)

  • Comment number 48.

    IMMIGRATE, DIVIDE, AND CONQUER

    foredeckdave (#41) #36 JJ Or is it possibly that you construct the concept of a "kabbalist conspiracy" merely to support your own desire for a totaliterian solution?"

    Look at the numbers. I've given you a rational explanation, expressed in terms of group evolutionary 'political' conflict (think badck to teh Pale of Settlement, migration to London, the USA and then back to the USSR in 1917) which you will find throughout the animal kingdom, and human history, if you look into it.

    Watch the US and EU economies deteriorate, and ignore the drivers, and disproportionate beneficiaries, as you wish. Exploitation works by convincing naive, trusting people, to fear 'totalitarianism' (i.e statism/working collectively in their own interests) by encouraging selfish, narcissistic individualism.

    It's divide and conquer:- colonization.

  • Comment number 49.

    LibertarianKurt (#42) "Thanks for making the case for the free-markets then."

    Given the highly salient adverse consequences (from Enron to the Credit Crunch and venality of banksters' behaviour etc), how does what I have said make the case for free-markets, especially when so much of what the venality has been abuse of public trust and now their money?

  • Comment number 50.

    39 Mr Tweedy

    You are on thread, unlike the usual faded jeans loop de loop.

    In the last recession they used the VAT guys to try and get hold of info, senior guys phoned around, I had the impression they had a good idea of what was going on.

    There is something going on which is not terribly publically obvious. You dont pump 50Bil QE into the system, and early at that, on a maybe so they think there is a problem in the system. Things seem to be bottoming, maybe, somewhere. I suggest that there are several plays going on at this particular theatre at the same time. Up in some areas and down in others. I still think this is looking like a bathtub, no analysis I have just spending too long looking at graphs at one time or another. King is saying things have moved from the budget. That cannot be good news. The continual drift outwards and down in forecasts is a problem, it is still running at 100 percent slippage, that indicates a very major problem, ask your project management guys, they will say freefall. I find the ONS line which is straight down at present a considerable worry. If a sharp vee shaped recovery is due then fine, however it does not look that way so just what is the profile. If not a sharp vee then the straight line has to kink but keep going down for some way. There are still a considerable number of people largely unaffected by this recession, costs may have gone up and assets gone down but they are still moving along.

  • Comment number 51.

    erraum (#49) "so much of that venality has been abuse of public trust, and now, their money?"

  • Comment number 52.

    47 fdd

    All they are doing is pushing some of it into the future. That is the whole point in what they are doing.

    But hey, life's a beach

  • Comment number 53.

    The only tangible evidence that "things are getting better" is that the stock market is rising. Oh hang on, it's down nearly 100 points today and as I write the Dow is tanking at nearly 200 down. The dead cat looks to have stopped its bouncing now. every other indicator suggests to me that the Western world is up the proverbial road without a paddle. The time is now China's. Everyone in power knows this, which is why they say they don't know what is going to happen. The truth, as they know, is too terrifying.

  • Comment number 54.

    ThorntonHeathen (#31) When you've had a look at the contemporary group breakdown of NYC, think back to the earlier part of the C20th.. Just how much of the proliferation of non-empirical economics was essentially a NYC/Chicago 'family' business'?

    Bearing in mind the NYC demographics and the USA's CRA, repeal of Glass-Steagal in 1999, and explosion in predatory sub-prime lending/liar's loans through brokers, why do you think this group might have been putting so much effort into making race and IQ such a PC taboo? ;-)

  • Comment number 55.

    #48 JJ.

    Now there YOU have it - INDIVIDUALISM the curse of the totalitarian. Trouble is we are all individual, it's part of the human condition. Totaliterians may try and supress it but they lose in the end. Even you are an individual in essence you can't fight it!

    The US and EU economies are far from being finished. In a mess - yes but far from being finished.

  • Comment number 56.

    #53 boosmith,

    China needs the West to be vibrant. They can only invest within themselves for a very short period. Push the West too hard and we really are on the rocky road to war - now THAT's frightening!

  • Comment number 57.

    foredeckdave (#55) "Now there YOU have it - INDIVIDUALISM the curse of the totalitarian. Trouble is we are all individual, it's part of the human condition"

    This is how anarchists play divide and conquer, talk of the individual is just egregious metaphysics. Cultures share behaviours, just take the English language as an example of your conformity. It's the same in medicine, you're ordered against a class, you're not an individual, you are a set of numbers.

    Take a trip to East Europe or the USSR and discover what they miss. Or visit 'totalitarian' China and see how they still care about each other.

    This is 'totalitarianism'. The Berlin wall was built by the USSR to keep our pernicious, narcissistic, anti-social behaviour out. All its collapse showed was that the bad and corrupt often wins out.

    At present, our data strongly suggests individualism is a spent force. Watch them try to re-establish it though...perhaps with your collusion.

  • Comment number 58.

    JadedJean # 49

    I would just like to remind you, once again, that your interpretation of the free-markets is markedly different to mine. And as for venality and abuse of public trust, I think we can plonk that one squarely in the lap of the statists (i.e., government).

    I'm glad you mentioned the Enron debacle because it deserves a little bit of attention here; in particular, the myth that capitalism corrupts politics.

    Enron was able to gain political favours (and, of course, an advantage in operating its business) by supplying campaign money to politicians from both US major political parties, thereby blinding these otherwise public-spirited people from performing their duties to the people.

    Enron gave vast sums of cash to both Republicans and Democrats. At the time, Democrats tried to link Enron and its chairman, Kenneth Lay, to President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. However, they conveniently forgot that Enron in 1997 contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Party immediately after President Bill Clinton directly intervened to help Enron gain a $3bn project in India.

    The problem here is that the politicians have it backwards. The energy business in the US, including oil and electricity, has been thoroughly politicised for about a century. Producers of electricity, despite what mainstream economists tell us, have been and continue to be heavily regulated, by both state and federal government agencies. Electricity production has undergone some changes in its regulatory structure in recent years, but to call this process "deregulation" does violence to the language.

    Producers of electric power in the US are regulated in every sense of the word, from the fuel they use to the prices they can charge customers. Furthermore, the process is subject to the whims of regulators and politicians, and that makes it very difficult to plan for the long term, as the stroke of a politician's pen can wipe out a lifetime of profitable investments.

    Oil is another thoroughly politicised commodity. The US government determines when and where individual firms can drill for oil, the extraction processes they can use, and, since much of the remaining oil-producing land in the United States is in the hands of the federal government, nearly every exploration and drilling project is controlled at some level by the political process. The fact that the US Congress continues to bar oil firms from tapping vast oil fields located beneath barren lands in northern Alaska bears eloquent witness to the fact that the political classes are doing everything they can to deny consumers the benefits of fossil fuels.

    Given this set of circumstances, any firm that has anything to do with oil, natural gas, or electricity is going to have to pay tribute to their US political masters. As Fred McChesney of the Northwestern University Law School so eloquently put it, the vast amount of political contributions is nothing more than protection money that companies must give to politicians in order to be permitted to stay in business.

    Do payments to politicians "buy" political favours? Of course they do. However, the process does not originate with capitalists, but rather has been imposed upon capitalists by the politicians. The line of causality is vital, as the politicians once again are trying to blame the wrong people.

    Of course, Enron was a US company, but does anyone seriously believe that the same does not happen in the UK as well?



  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    RE post 59

    Sorry i meant WHO IS THE JOKER!!

  • Comment number 61.

    #57 JadedJean

    "This is how anarchists play divide and conquer, talk of the individual is just egregious metaphysics. Cultures share behaviours, just take the English language as an example of your conformity. It's the same in medicine, you're ordered against a class, you're not an individual, you are a set of numbers."

    You really have a very strange, non-normal, view of culture it's development, indicators and maintenance. Certainly cultures share behaviours, however the way that those behaviors are implemented will differ from one culture to another. Let's take the care of the most needy in society. All Western cultures would agree that this was an identifyer of their culture. However, the processes used to identify who is needy and the processes used to deliver that care differ from country to country.

    If you want to use the English language as a cultural identifier then you also have to take into account the sub-cultures that exist within the universe of English users.Take you use of "egregious metaphysics." That has specific meaning for you and in population terms a very small sub-set of people. The larger part of the English speaking population would find it either verbose or uninteligable. Therefore, it requires you to explain your use of English to other English speakers who do not share the culture of your sub-culture. You have always maintained that to attempt interpretation would pollute the thought. All you are really doing is to define the barriers of your sub-culture. Even within your sub-culture you will find those who would disagree with you regarding either or both the definition or scope of "egregious metaphysics." And yet we are classified by you as being the same because we all talk English!

    It may be convenient in medical science or economics to order against a class. However, that is not the general experience of the individual who requires medical treatment and is treated as an individual. Perhaps it also helps explain some of the 'strange' conclusions arrived at by health economists.

    A culture can only be developed and maintined by the concious agreement of the individual. In the long term it cannot be imposed. If all of the East Germans had GIVEN their concious agreement to the Berlin Wall then it would still be there and the signs saying "Will the last to leave please turn the light out" would never have been written.

    Nobody doubts that the Chinese people care for each other. That is very different from saying that all Chinese people totally embrace communism. Even the Chinese leadership have had to recognise the existance of the ME2 generation and have had to take steps to ensure that as many as possible of their wishes are accommodated. Now that is firstly totally contrary to the principals of communism AND the begining of the end for centralised leadership. Sometimes the good guys do win!!

    That's the problem with data. It is not truth, it is not fact, it is not even information. Individualism is still an essential element of humanity and you will never break it - no matter how hard you try.


  • Comment number 62.

    #57

    JJ, I nearly forgot!! Exactly WHO are the WE in "our data"?

  • Comment number 63.

    "More than usual, the governor was at pains to stress the uncertainties involved in any forecast for the economy right now - whether the Bank's or anyone else's."

    The only difference between now and any other time is that he admits he's clueless. How could he do otherwise? Look at the track record of most economic forecasters, what they said would happen and what actually happened. It isn't a pretty sight.

  • Comment number 64.

    foredecdave (#61;#62) My basic point has been a simple one. Individualism and narcissism has been peddled as economic anarchism in order to a) asset strip years of publicly funded ownership domestically and b) undermine it abroad in puruit of market share. It is a destructive force and once the perpetrators have exhausted what's available, they move on. Sadly, for most of us (evidently not you) we have had these people and their funders/helpers in power for the past three decades.

  • Comment number 65.

    I see Mervyn King is now making postings on the Market Oracle.
    That's a turn up for the books.

  • Comment number 66.

    I would like to draw your attention to this article...

    http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/05/13/budget-2009-lets-assume-we-have-a-can-opener/

    ...which says it better than I could.

  • Comment number 67.

    A business survey from a well known bank has just arrived on my desk.
    It includes a raft of incisive questions such as:

    "Are you currently operating?"
    The choices are:
    "At full capacity" tick box, or
    "Below capacity" tick box

    "Over the next six months what do you expect to happen to the following?" - "order book", "your prices", "your profits", "your staff numbers"
    The choices are:
    "up" tick box, or
    "Same" tick box or
    "Down" tick box.

    Trying to run an economy based on this sort of data is not easy.....


  • Comment number 68.

    Perhaps BofE press conferences are getting dull because they realise that the public doesn't believe a word they are saying. If these people ever knew what they were doing we wouldn't be in this mess.

  • Comment number 69.

    ANARCHISM AND THE PR INDUSTRY

    MrTweedy (#67)

    Sorry to be repetitive ;-), but when one has sold off the means of production long ago, and when 'managing the economy' has been reduced to devolved regulation of Central Bank interest rate by the independent (from government) Central Bank, who, if anyone, is running the country, and who has who playing the Wizard of Oz?

    Incidentally, on a day when influence and legislation is in the media, is it true that whilst there are no British Chinese Peers (0.5% of the population) there is something along the lines of a 10 x over representation of a group which has similar academic attainment and the same population base rate?

  • Comment number 70.

    Stephanie, I think you are completely missing the point.

    1) 800 billion pounds of extra debt lent out from outside the UK to the UK has to be paid off. By Extra I mean monies above capital secured in UK savings. Even if payments are kept to interest only this debt has increased by 20% or more because of the exchange rate. This is the elephant in the room - why isnt it mentioned in this article ?
    2) Because government tax receipts are down and will be down for many years capital expenditure will HAVE to be reduced. More so by the fact that current stimulus packages are unsustainable. Yet there are huge Public Finance Initiatives coming to into fuition.
    3) To pay for government debt and lower receipts taxes will HAVE to rise.
    4) No mention is being made of the fact that banks will have to be re capitalised in the near future. Initial funding from government only secured short term funding liabilities. US government expects to further fund their banks in the trillions of dollars. No mention has been made of UK bank liabilities in the future.

    I deeply suspect BBC reporting and government collusion to hide the real problems. This has been clearly demonstrated in the near past where RBS problems were kept swept under the carpet. As debt has been transferred now from the banks to the public in general the REAL question is how is that debt going to be paid off by the public and are the steps the government is taking sustainable. If not we'll see the exchange rate plummet again.

    A new level of government spending will be forced on the chancellor within the next 2-3 years. I just hope those people who do buy houses in the near future factor in higher interest rates and higher taxes in their calculations - this is a real sucker punch, be careful people.

  • Comment number 71.

    No.69 JadedJean

    I see you've adopted Newsnight's budget day "Wizard of Oz" theme...

    Upon their return to Emerald City, Toto exposes the great and powerful Wizard of Oz as a fraud; they find an ordinary man hiding behind a curtain operating a giant console which contains a group of buttons and levers. They are outraged at the deception, but the wizard solves their problems through common sense and a little double talk rather than magic. He explains that they already had what they had been searching for all along and only need things such as medals and diplomas to confirm that someone else recognises it.

    There you go.....the economic problems will be solved by simply boosting consumer confidence. The economy is a pyramid scheme afterall.

    The Wizard of Oz later went on to become an emperor who went about the place wearing no clothes, but his public didn't seem to notice.....


  • Comment number 72.

    #70 JAckMaxDaniels - I think your analysis is spot on - I especially agree with your suspicion that there is some kind of government/BBC collusion to hide the real problems.

    I would go further. If you read some of the comments on these blogs, they are not opinions or perspectives but are mere platitudes and cheerleading for the status quo. You have ask whether any ordinary member of the public would be bothered to write these things down.

  • Comment number 73.

    #70. JackMaxDaniels wrote:

    "I just hope those people who do buy houses in the near future factor in higher interest rates and higher taxes in their calculations"

    That is of course the very last thing the Bank and the Government wants! Today their are 'signals' that interest rates will remain at near Zero for a long long time.

    The problem is the one we have had for six month to a year - namely that the same men who managed, regulated and created the crisis are still guiding policy. They know of no other way of 'recovery' other than by engineering huge inflation in house prices and from the debt of future generation live today - madness - but it has not stopped them in the past!

    PS I agree with your points.

  • Comment number 74.

    MrTweedy (#71) Which Budget Day was that then?

    Did you miss my piece on 'The Credit Assignment Problem and Operant Conditioning' ;-)

  • Comment number 75.

    #64

    You still have not answered the question set in #62. Now, if you HAVE data then offer it. As your views are far from being the norm then you are also very far from being US.

    BTW, I wonder how many web toed peers there are. Is this group over or under represented? More and more abstractions JJ.

  • Comment number 76.

    75 foredeckdave

    Good reply to jaded genes. Maybe there's a correlation with the number of MPs with swimming pools?

  • Comment number 77.

    foredeckdave (#75) I'd said: "At present, our data strongly suggests individualism is a spent force. Watch them try to re-establish it though...perhaps with your collusion."

    If that isn't clear to you from recent events, i.e the injection of billions of public money into the private sector, nothing I have to say will enlighten you.

    As to your other scotoma....

    PS. Look up grudge and narcissism ;-).

  • Comment number 78.

    #67 MrTweedy,

    Well, it made a change from stareing at FX screens :)

    From what you say the questionaire does appear to be somewhat simplistic. However, how much time, effort and detail would you voluntarily share with them? I don't know if the questionnaire came from 'your' bankers but I would suggest that, apart from very general indicators you would be most reluctant to give any financial institutions more than just general indicators -if any information at all!

    The problem is further increased when HMG wish to gain information for the interpreatation of the 'official' retun data that they recieve. How much data would you give say the taxman or VATman over and above that data you are required to submit?

    Thinking for a moment about your own MIS. You should be able to put a value upon the accuracy and applicability of your internal data. However, that becomes harder to do for your external sources. In reality your market data, lets say Customer and Competitior anaylsis will be comparatively 'sketchy' and riddled with assumptions. Yet you still use this information for your business planning purposes. It is the same for the government and BoE.

    One thing that has always puzzled me is why people commission research on the assumption that it will give them 'answers'. Research cannot do this. It can only provide data, that you then process to provide information, upon which you use your own skills and abilities to make decisions.

  • Comment number 79.



    Oh JJ you do continue to disappoint! There is a great leap ( I nearly said faith but your 'empiricism' would rule that out) from "the injection of billions of public money into the private sector" to individualism being a spent force.

    If that is all you have to offer then you are correct when you say "nothing I have to say will enlighten you."

    BTW My eyesight is good and I don't suffer from migraine

  • Comment number 80.

    "If that isn't clear to you from recent events, i.e., the injection of billions of public money into the private sector, nothing I have to say will enlighten you."

    From statements like this, we once again see the disingenuous method by which the proponents of statism try to shift the blame onto capitalism and the free-markets. The above statement needs to be analysed and proper context given to the use of the phrase "private sector". When we substitute this phrase with the more correct phrase the "banking system", then this alters the meaning of the original statement significantly.

    When we understand that the banking system in UK - as with most other countries - is heavily regulated and controlled by the central bank, which is in turn - contrary to what the statists would have us believe - an arm of government, then we are better able to ascertain where, in fact, the true cause of the current economic crisis stems from.

  • Comment number 81.

    #77 Jadedjean. You still doin it all wrong. Meltdown is coming - but you know that don´t you? Nothing that you suggest can avoid or ameliorate the consequences of the tsunami of debt that threatens to overwhelm us all, but then you probably know that as well.

    You probably sit around reading books, constantly testing yourself for intellectual purity and despairing that so many others either cannot or will not match up to the levels of purity that your creed so venerates.

    It seems unlikely to me that you pay much attention to events and experiences of the real world. If you did you would realise the ultimate destructive inanity of your position.

    I have lived in places where the "intellectually pure" have managed to conduct large scale experiments of the type your kind of position demands. It does not matter whether you identify the problem as people with low IQ´s, people with soft hands or who wear glasses, or people that have lost connection with God through being tainted with western decadence. They all have to be dealt with.

    When dealing with the originally identified "miscreants" fails to produce the gains and improvements you expect the net is widened to include more and more people.

    Left to run its course you end up with the inanity of the GIA - which ultimately concludes that only about 6 people in an entire country have the necessary levels of purity and everyone else can be safely disposed of. But before you get to that you do your best (because you are pure) to convert people to your cause. Because your purity is the highest attribute in the world any means are acceptable. Fancy blowing up a few schools, killing a bus load of under 5´s - not a problem, they were not pure so you were really acting in their best interests.

    What is gained by all of this? You just create a sea of misery, pain and suffering beyond description. These things I know - I saw the aftermath of Pol Pot and I was in Algeria in the late 1990´s. You need to keep a sense of humour to stay sane.

    This is where your ideas lead - you cannot find true fear, despair and desolation in a book because no matter how many words you know the concepts defy written description. You have to experience it. However you can generate the "intellectual justification" for creating that fear, despair and desolation in a book - and this is the charge you face.

    Your ideas lead nowhere other than to nihilistic destruction. No-one who understands wants to buy what you are selling. The only people that would possibly buy are those that do not understand - where does that leave your venerated intellectual purity?

  • Comment number 82.

    armagediontimes (#81) I'm sorry if the way I write and what I write makes what I am referring to appear academic.

    It isn't. :-(

    We are seeing the consequences of long term, slow changes to our demographics and the inherently self-destructive nature of liberal-democracy/anti-statism. I've tried to make it clear how and why that's the case.

    Have you watched the ETS video? Didn't that make matters clear?

  • Comment number 83.

    #82

    Did you not READ the man's post? NOW THAT MAKES IT CLEAR

  • Comment number 84.

    foredeckdave (#83) If you look back (carefully) through posts, (both here, and to Newsnight/CiF blogs), to ETS in February 2007, and then to those (I've cited some of them repeatedly) whose data prompted ETS to publish their warning, you would see that that what you read in the main article (and others elsewhere) are just finally catching up - after all, it isn't all that long ago that it was being asserted that few financial journalists saw any of this coming. Those who did have been censored as part of 'a liberal-conpiracy' to which Herrnstein referred (and Murray more recently).

    But you probably won't, as it's clear from your posts that you're a camp follower, and primarily motivated by narcissistic supply/injury rather than pursuit of truth.

  • Comment number 85.

    No.78. foredeckdave

    You are right, I don't really like disclosing any information to anyone outside the company. Companies in general don't always have fully up to date information themselves. A customer who previously had a strong balance sheet could go bust unexpectedly, if said customer had itself extended credit to a large foreign customer who then defaulted. Such an event is impossible for me to to predict, as no warning signs would be present before the event. Hence, I am always conservative and build reserves and provisions to protect my company against "random shocks". The accounting standards don't like general provisions however, and neither does the tax man, as they see them as income smoothing.

    Surveys can never really get an accurate picture about the economy as the time lags are just too long and the data just too simplistic. For example, the German economy has shrunk by a bigger than expected amount in Q1 2009.....
    This is now causing the pound to climb back up against the euro......

  • Comment number 86.

    I really can't believe you need all this time to moderate my # 68 comment. It contains no bad language, and I have recieve no email inviting we to alter it; which is always a waste of time, as we are not told what is the offending part of the comment.

    I have alread been allowed to state that we wouldn't be in this mess if the people handling this mess new what they were doing, in another BBC blog. That was the second statement of only two that I made in the post.

    Does the BBC think I can undermine the whole UK economy by this and the other statement I made.

  • Comment number 87.

    LibertarianKurt (#80) We appear to be participating in different realities.

    During the governorship of Montagu Norman, which lasted from 1920 to 1944, the Bank made deliberate efforts to move away from commercial banking and become a central bank. In 1946, shortly after the end of Norman's tenure, the bank was nationalised by the Labour government.

    On 6 May 1997, following the 1997 general election which brought another Labour government to power, it was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, that the Bank of England would be granted operational independence over monetary policy. Under the terms of the Bank of England Act 1998 (which came into force on 1 June 1998), the bank's Monetary Policy Committee was given sole responsibility for setting interest rates to meet the Government's stated Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation target of 2.5%."


    As I undrstand it, the 1998 Act and the 2000 FSA legislation on this side of the Atlantic complemented the anarchistic/neo-liberal legislation being signed off in the USA by 'comrade' (Trot) Clinton. The USA's CRA was central to this, as was high immigration into the UK, tilted differential fertility via 'Education, Education, Education', 'populist equalitarianism' and PC/anti-deference/elitism.

    Do you really not see these anarchistic, anti-statist, entryist, pro free-market forces at work?

  • Comment number 88.

    #84

    Re-read post #81. Now, in plain and simple language prove that he is wrong. The rest of your posts are just bluster and self-angrandisisement wrapped in a cloak of quasi intellectual arrogance.

  • Comment number 89.

    JadedJean # 87

    The fact that the BoE was nationalised in 1946 means that it is owned by the British Government and therefore is an arm of government economic policy: that is the inescapable reality.

    The Chancellor's sophistic move in 1997 was just thinly veiled government window-dressing which outwardly gives the appearance that "The Bag (Old) Lady of Threadneedle Street" has operational independence. To the extent that MPC has to adhere to government inflation targets exposes the deception that it is "independent".

    No-one is fooled!

  • Comment number 90.

    LibertarianKurt(#89) "The fact that the BoE was nationalised in 1946 means that it is owned by the British Government and therefore is an arm of government economic policy: that is the inescapable reality."

    Here's the Labour Party 1945 manifesto (again). Note that this is when the Welfare State effectively began. They nationalised The Means of Production.

    I shouldn't have to say this, but in 1979, Thatcher and friends began reversing all of that, i.e. selling off The Means of Production (coal, gas, steel) and of course, the rest followed. By abandoning Clause IV, New Labour effectively abandoned Old Labour, becoming just another anarchistic neo-liberal party like The Conservatives and Liberal-Democrats. What happened in 1998 and 2000 should be obvious. Today we see what little remains, e.g. the NHS, education (see PFI and BFS), probation and even prisons going the same way.

    Why am I having to point out to you what has obviously been going on under the guise of 'freedom'?

    Prima facie, you are beginning to write nearly as naively as foredeckdave who is now demanding that I 'refute' the ramblings of armagediontimes who clearly (to me anyway) doesn't see what's going on by design, and isn't looking at the evidence either?

    What you (collectively) appear to be doing, if you don't mind me telling you, is describing your states of relative ignorance instead of looking carefully at the empirical facts.

    I've provided you with a potted history, it's really up to you to do some work ;-).

  • Comment number 91.

    "Prima facie, you are beginning to write nearly as naively as foredeckdave who is now demanding that I 'refute' the ramblings of armagediontimes who clearly (to me anyway) doesn't see what's going on by design, and isn't looking at the evidence either?"

    And either it will be me or another poster who will continue to oppose your totaliterian standpoint and DEMAND that you refute the truth of what we are saying. We have evidence that totalitarian regimes don't work. The collapse of Russian Communism had as much to do with with the growing awareness of the people it held within its thrall as it did with Western opposition. The same will prove true for the 'central-democracy' of China in the longer term.

    You are a very silly individual. If by some trajedy a totaliterian regime ever gained power in the UK, it would endore you for justification purposes, use you and then spit you out.

    As for your empiricism, it no no empiricism at all as it is a personal selction of data bent to satisfy your own 'beliefs'.

  • Comment number 92.

    JadedJean # 90

    "I shouldn't have to say this, but in 1979, Thatcher and friends began reversing all of that, i.e. selling off The Means of Production (coal, gas, steel) and of course, the rest followed."

    Now, why do you think Thatcher did that? Maybe because these industries, being government owned, were unprofitable and incurring massive losses for the taxpayer? BTW, you forgot to mention BL amongst others - but that's another story, isn't it?

    As for those other "national religions": the welfare-state, NHS and state education. It's a pity Thatcher didn't get around to dismantling them as well before the statists in her own political party stuck the knife in.

    New Labour, Old Labour, Conservatives, Liberal-Democrats? I don't see any difference; they are all statists. If you lined them all up in one line, you wouldn't be able to get a cigarette paper between them!

  • Comment number 93.

    LibertarianKurt (#92) "Now, why do you think Thatcher did that? Maybe because these industries, being government owned, were unprofitable and incurring massive losses for the taxpayer?"

    Because her backers were asset-stripping anarchists like Keith Joseph? Public/state run industries aren't primarily designed to make profits, they're designed to provide services to the people who essentially fund/own them, i.e. the tax-paying public. They don't incur 'losses', they're funded by the people for the people.

    Anarchists egregiously spin it the way you do it order to break the state up at the expense of the people and to privatise them for profit. the state limits the opportunity to make profits at the expense of the people.

    This is an intensional language issue. Sadly, too many people don't see through the kabbalah and scaremongering about totalitariaism when in reality its protection/defence against predation.

  • Comment number 94.

    #90 Jadedjean As you yourself have identified some people are incorrigible!! In what way can anything contained in post #81 be described as "rambling"?

    With regard to your post #82 I have never suggested that you are academic - rather I have accused you of intellectual purity, and that charge stands.

    What do I care that the average IQ is in decline (if it is)? What do I care that the western world is most likely about to experience some of the living conditions that the vast bulk of humanity has experienced since the dawn of time?

    What do you have to offer? Absolutely nothing beyond the identification of scapegoats, and the ability to kill on an industrial scale. Kill them (as you will, if you and yours gain power), and nothing will change beyond an increase in the aggregate of human misery. Nothing will change because nothing can change.

    But all of this is pointless - because you already know these things to be true. Your problem is you just don´t care. You don´t care because intellectual purity demands that you don´t care. Sure you recognise the existence of the suffering and the misery, but you can´t allow yourself to empathise because to do so would corrupt the purity. This is how you can come to demand the extermination of entire populaces. These people are to die on the phyrric bonfire of your ego - and when it is done nothing will have changed.

    An academic would undertake field work - they would go take a look at places that have tried to implement the theories. But again, you don´t do that - I know you have not done that, because no-one that has seen would ever write what you write.

    As I have already told you the only people that will buy what you are selling are those that do not understand. As Foredeckdave has told you, you will not last long should such people gain power, for todays revolutionaries are tomorrows reactionaries. You seal your own fate long before you seal mine.

    Whilst there is still time (if there is) think about the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you doin it all wrong.

  • Comment number 95.

    fordeckdave (#91) "As for your empiricism, it no no empiricism at all as it is a personal selction of data bent to satisfy your own 'beliefs'."

    To be able to state that with any confidence/credibilty you would have to be able to present the evidence as well, or better than, I, and as is clear from what you post and what you do not post, that just is not the case, or else you'd have been citing evidence to justify what you had to say would you not?

    So, give it a rest, you clearly don't know what you're talking about, and that's just part of what classes you as an irresponsible narcissist.

    Consider this a public service to others who are not experienced enough to identify such incorrigible behaviours.

  • Comment number 96.

    #92 LibertarianKurt - Maybe coal was closed because it was unprofitable. Maybe it wasn´t.

    It was shut fairly quickly after the 84/5 strike. In 1986 oil hit a new low of $12bbl. Pretty fortunate eh?

    I don´t recall the need to bomb UK coal fields to reduce the price of coal - although I do recall the need to bomb, invade, and subvert a number of oil exporting nations. I wonder why that was.

    But let us not forget that Scargill was a militant who made unreasonable demands. Let us also not forget that as each year passes we become more reliant on Russia. Lucky the Russians are so much more committed to Pax Britanica than people like Scargill.

    Still I am sure that free markets will win out in the end.

  • Comment number 97.

    armagediontimes (#94) "In what way can anything contained in post #81 be described as "rambling"?"

    Because #81 like your #94 shows absolitely no grasp of what I have been posting. If anything, your lack of caring is an instantiation of our predicament.

  • Comment number 98.

    #97 Jadedjean. A couple of points:

    "absolitely" is not a word - absolutely is. Nugatory point? Maybe, but some may detect fear and/or fury as you clearly know how to spell.

    You do not refute the suggestion that mass murder is your solution. The charge against you stands.

    People will come to their own conclusions, as is their right. For my part I remain of the view that in the main those who agree with you will be those who you despise for their intellectual inadequacies. You will end like a snake seeking to devour its own tail. Such is my ignorance of your creed that I do not even know if there is a word to describe those that seek to eat themselves.

  • Comment number 99.

    armagediontimes # 96

    "...although I do recall the need to bomb, invade, and subvert a number of oil exporting nations. I wonder why that was."

    I'm sorry that you may have misinterpreted my remarks at # 92; I do not support bombing, invading or subverting ANY country. I believe in free international trade (not inter-governmental trade agreements) with ALL countries. Free trade - in its most pure form - between all countries acts as a positive mechanism against protectionism, suspicion and warmongering.

    This is the libertarian standpoint!

  • Comment number 100.

    CHOSEN (NARCISSISTIC/PSYCHOPATHIC) PEOPLE

    armagediontimes (#98) "You do not refute the suggestion that mass murder is your solution. The charge against you stands."

    The charge of what? Look up non sequitur, the origin of the term 'idiot' and where the i and u are on a QWERTY keyboard.

    You might like to think about Dresden, Hamburg and large numbers of other West German cities/civilians. More recently, it was Iraq and on a much smaller scale, Gaza. That's where opposition to state planning in pursuit of economic/political hegemony has been implemented by overwhelming and unreasonable force - today these acts would almost definitely be classed as war crimes but the current aggressors oddly enough are not signed up to the ICC! Today this exploitation is largely done domestically by psychological warfare via distortions of history upon ever more dumbed down neo-liberal populations where naive people are duped into tolerating/excusing predatory, sometimes psychopathic behaviour in their midst on the grounds that the perpetrators are victims of an alleged persecution! Look at Europe's plumeting demographics for mass-murder. TFRs of 1.1-1.8. Look up what happens with a TFR of 1.1.

    Wake up.

    We know that psychopathology, like crime, runs in families. We now know it's essentially a genetic, not environmental thing. The answer is eugenics as in China, i.e. a civilized change in breeding patters/parenthood.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.