Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lex - Financial Times and The Economist

I used to be impressed with the Lex column in the Financial Times, which is so well respected that their website actually charges for it. Looking at today's in the paper has incited me to launch my nuclear missiles at economists again.

Lex was literally taking quotes from Adam Smith to interpret today's global economic situation. This is akin to meteorologists who quote passages from the Bible to interpret why Hurricane Katrina would have hit New Orleans! It would also be similar to physicists who delve into Isaac Newton's tomes to interpret results when the CERN Large Hadron Collider starts up on 10 September

It shows how completely addled by Adam Smith the entire field of Economics has become. I wonder if economics was ever heading for anything more? Here we are in 2008, at a point when the Global Economy is the largest human economy that has ever existed in history, and the people who should understand it and plot its future are mired in a Flat Earth Universe.

To confirm my assessment of the stupidity of economists, I was leafing through this week's copy of The Economist, and I swear it was one of the weakest issues I have ever seen. It completely lacked any new intelligence, and in the back they still quote tables of basic, vacuous and fundamentally dubious national economic monthly statistics, which are as useful as Woolworths quoting weekly Singles Charts for pop music.

The whole scene of Economics brings to mind once again Asimov's Foundation Series. It is as though the real economists, the clever psychohistorians, have long since been secreted in a hiding place, to plot and plan the course of the Global Human Economic Machine. Meanwhile, they have left a bunch of idiots and clowns in charge of the Economist, The Financial Times, The Bank of England, The London School of Economics etcetera, so that we are distracted from discovering the real economists.

If Asimov were going to hide some clever economists today, where would he hide them? In a hedge fund company? Maybe. In the Bank of England? Maybe. In Goldman Sachs? Oh that's so obvious...... So obvious that they could really be there! Guarded by a fortress of security, untouched by the Credit Crunch, and protected by cities (London, New York, Hong Kong) of cynical spoilt-brat know-it-all wasted liberals whom crush conspiracy theories more quickly than cockroaches. But the probabilistic calculation and prediction of mass human economic behaviour is well within the reach of modern technology, and anyone incapable of appreciating that might as well keep their sunglasses on and leave their Ipod earphones switched on.

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