Professor Verity Bastion sees little cause to reflect on economic yesteryears and encounters a leading light in the black economy.
So it looks like we are going to suffer two years of anniversaryitis. How tedious. On the 9th August, ten years after the Paribas announcement of a problem, I couldn’t seem to avoid endless articles on the Crash, failure of economics etc. I presume we will have ten years after Northern Rock, then Bear Sterns and on and on. Agh!
We had to put up with enough crowing after 2008, when all the heterodox economists came with endless cries of “we told you so”. I remember our own dear monarch remarking to me at the LSE that we hadn’t predicted this. Of course we have as little chance of predicting crashes coming as we have of predicting earthquakes.
“We had to put up with enough crowing after 2008.”
Very well, I have to admit that I am glad that my old friend Angus Armstrong is going to sort out macro-economics. I suppose we have to accept it needs a bit of rebuilding to say the least, even though the problems have been clearly overstated and some very good work has been done since the Crash which is often ignored. Angus is though eminently sensible and utterly charming. He also has a solid Treasury pedigree. He will keep the boat steady.
My first love of course was micro-economics, which still stands largely unchallenged. It is recognised everywhere as good common sense. Get the incentives right, use the power of markets and the world will work properly.
I have to say though that the last week has been very trying. My colleagues had, and I have to give them some credit, organised a day’s conference in my honour to mark ten years since I took up the Kellogg’s Chair for Nutritional Economics at Oxford. I suppose I would have expected a Noble prize winner or two to speak, but apart from that omission they had a reasonable list of speakers. Also they had organised a proper 15-course dinner in my old college, which I do miss.
Anyway it was not to be. For some reason, our apartment has an old-style defrosting freezer and as I was reaching for the milk, I slipped on the pool of water that had gathered on the floor. To make matters worse, in reaching out to steady myself I caught my favourite Sabatier knife. So I ended up flat on the floor with the Sabatier sticking in my calf and my ankle at a strange angle on the day I was getting ready to catch the train to Oxford.
Obviously our local Bupa hospital was out of the question. It is simply not economically viable for them to run emergency or intensive care. So I screamed for Thomas, who grasped the situation with his usual speed and called for an ambulance.
Eventually I was hauled onto a stretcher by a burly fellow, who could have done with a proper shower, and rushed to our local A&E. Of course, given local closures, it was at least 40 minutes away.
It turns out I wasn’t the only knife wound in A&E that afternoon. The place next to me was taken by Prinz Charlz, a local herbal products entrepreneur, who had been caught in a contretemps with a rival and come off the worse for it. Apparently his grafting has been adversely affected by Brexit leading to greater competition between operators. In any event the Sydneham Crew had adopted a more ruthless business strategy which led to the young Prinz lying on the trolley next to me.
“I ended up flat on the floor with the Sabatier sticking in my calf.”
Having had my wound attended to most skilfully by a doctor just back from a spell with Doctors without Borders in Remada (I don’t think he meant the hotel chain), I joined Thomas in the foyer to wait for a taxi home. Evidently he had been in a long conversation with Queenisha, Prinz’s partner. They had really hit it off and she and baby Prinsz Beyonce were invited to tea next week.
As I said, I have had a very trying week.