Monday 15 February 2016

Seven Ways Of Saying No

There is no equilibrium.

The world of economists spends much of its time trying to work out what the equilibrium is and how it comes about.  A lot of the debate is about the past concerning what should have been and why it did not happen.

The shelves groan with the weight of books about it and the journals are crammed with the arcane debates of persons who have give their lives to the search.  They might as well have mounted a horse, found a Sancho Panza and set off on a quest.

The concept of an equilibrium is an unattainable dream and in reality always has been.  There might have been some sort of economic equilibrium many thousands of years ago before humans began exchanging goods and services, but it all went to hell when some fool invented forms of money.

There is no normal.

Close to sixty years ago I was present at an occasion when the Soviet Ambassador attended by beaming and servile socialist academics at the LSE tried to persuade us that the Soviet Union at that time represented what should be normal for all.

There have been many other occasions when politicians of various stripes and with malice aforethought have told me what should be normal.  Given the way humans behave and how one generation is rarely the same as another change is always with us.

In the past at certain times and places there may well have been a stasis or a relatively static system in place, but never world wide and never one that could really be transferred.  It is better to assume that humans are essentially deranged and kept in control only by appealing to their fears.

There is no certainty.

For decades our weather forecasters tried to persuade us that they could advise us of what to expect.  Nowadays, grudgingly, they admit that they are making educated guesses.  Sadly, many have had a limited education.

The same goes for anyone else making predictions about the future because all our educations are limited and we are only dimly beginning to admit it is impossible to know everything and judge the manifold variations in even simple matters.

There are no right decisions.

Many decisions have a variety of options and implications.  The more complicated they are and the more people involved the more chance that some will be losers. 

Given that there is no normal etc. see above it is very easy to make decisions that will turn out to be wrong for you and those that are right, all too often are bad for someone else.

If only.........

There is no identifiable future.

Look at the past, look at what happened next and where and look at the present.  Could anyone, other than a lunatic, have predicted where and what we are today and have got it right?

There is no one responsible.

Because of our many and various class systems and our love for ordering and stratifying societies some people at the top make decisions for those lower down.

We like to think that they are responsible when all too often the level of their responsibility is about the same as a baby throwing things out of the pram.

The trouble with absolute or class based rule is that it depends on structures which are absolutely loyal, competent, put self interest below duty and capable of doing their jobs properly.  This does not happen.

As democracies in fact need similar qualities relating to people being voted in they have the same problem given that so many democracies have finished up either electing absolutists or people unfitted for carrying any kind of serious responsibility.

There is no way out for the living.

It is not a question of might things go wrong, at present for just about all of us it is when.


  1. We are not autonomous and neither are our leaders and authority figures. We and they are products of our circumstances and genes and on the whole self interest comes first.

    Unfortunately there are too many who can't live with that so they dream up systems...

  2. A sombre note has crept in, Demetrius. Any specific stimulus?

    1. Looking at the routine shopping bill for a couple and realising it is more than the cash price of the deposit for our first house.

    2. Looking at the routine shopping bill for a couple and realising it is more than the cash price of the deposit for our first house.