Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Going Off The Rails

The phrase "train crash" is now a cliche.  Having used it in the past it must be.  It is still favoured by many and various experts suggesting that things are not as they should be and the prospects look bad.  In our complicated and fast moving world there is no shortage of choices.  Barely a day goes by without another one in the media.

One area is finance and within this a rich and varied selection.  The international bond markets is one with a number of people betting on the train hitting the buffers any time now.  Japan is a leading contender for the trigger mechanism for this one with real concerns about the way it is going.  France is another contender, rivalled by the UK, the USA as well as a clutch of other smaller financial centres.

Inevitably the stock markets are one field.  It is alleged that all the funny money, "easing" sloshed out to keep bad banks in being, broke states functioning and bubbles bubbling to keep the noisy money go round going round in circles has nowhere else to go to get a return other than minimal. 

This has rarely if ever worked in the past despite the academic and mathematical theories and is unlikely to work in the immediate future.  One bubble notable in the UK is the property one in the South East of England especially in the London area and in high value properties together with EU subsided land.

With The City too much involved in the international markets and a lot of their earnings locked up in property together with that of the "hot money" coming in from disrupted states and indeed too much of the UK economy based on moving money and creaming the contents the risks are very high.  In the USA there are similarities but a much more complicated situation.  There the risks also are high but the potential effects less predictable.

Among the other choices is an article in the LSE magazine about the Robbins Report of 1963 about Higher Education recommending a major expansion to allow many more to go to University from the pool of able people available.  What was signal about this report was that it fudged the costs and overall consequences.

Also it entirely ignored the major areas of other education that may not have been university or given degree status but were then available to very many and both demanding and often of high standard.  An effect of this has been to turn university education into a product dependent on foreign money along with state support and the creation of a huge lobby in its own and related narrow interests.

So now we have nurses many of whom do not actually nurse, teachers who are doing less and less teaching to deal with paperwork, chronic shortages of key skills, including doctors and many employers finding it increasingly difficult to find workers who want to work within the UK labour force.  Was the 1960's University model really the only and the best way to educate and train a labour force?

Apart from the "train crashes" there are a great many derailments.  The BBC has blown £100 million on a failed digital caper to add to the vast sums spent on colonising and gentrifying Salford.  It's daftness over digital is minor compared to the vast sums lost by the government.  Almost wherever you go in government you see huge sums lost forever almost all paid for by borrowed money.

And it is corrupt to an extent that beggars even 18th Century standards.  As I write the latest "Private Eye" has arrived with the picture of the Palace of Westminster on the front.  That large tower at one end is called "Big Bent".  It says it all.

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