At the End of the Day


You can’t make concrete experts out of futurology flakes



Last year (I read in a Philp Aldrick column)  ‘Fathom Consulting audited the International Monetary Fund’s forecasts. In 194 countries since 1988 there had been 469 recessions, 79 of them in advanced economies. The IMF foresaw only four a year in advance, Fathom found, and none when it came to rich nations. It did, however, spot 47 that never happened.’

I like the cut of Fathom’s gib: I’ve been saying the same thing since 2011.

Choose your adjective of preference to describe the IMF’s record as outlined above: risible, appalling, desperate, useless, hopeless, amateur, quack, worthless, junk, trash, dross….it doesn’t really matter. The truth is, very little this US neocon front organisation says is worth even a cursory glance – let alone a recommendation.

Tomorrow, the EU publishes its plan for a “single data market” – a programme designed to  turn the Union into a technological powerhouse and thus beat those nations who currently dominate the sector into a very poor second place.

Similar adjectives to those above can easily be applied to this notice pinned on to the Brussels cork-board of aspiration. The EU has fallen thousands of kilometres behind already in the digital market, and the reason is clear to every empiricist on the planet: the US, China, Korea and bits of atypical Scandinavia are the boss players because human individuals with an original idea have swept aside the old hardware rules in favour of new software horizons.

This isn’t what I’d ideally want, but it is reality and so I choose to deal with it. Brussels doesn’t, because Brussels is a nest of barely warm functionaries who understand only rules…..and come down like a tonne of breaks on any poor devil breaking them.

Bureaucratic imposition from above will never, ever replace individual citizen endeavour when it comes to generating employment and prosperity. The current global monopolism getting in the way of that general rule is, in this sense, no different to the EU way of messing things up. Social democratic, anally retentive economics know how to share, but not how to grow; mercantile neoliberalism knows only how to compete, but not how to cooperate.

What point am I making here?

Only this: whenever faced with reality, Leftlibs quote – without any discernment whatsoever – predictions and expectations generated by the IMF, the World Bank, Brussels, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, the US Federal Reserve, CO² fixated climate scientists and myriad social futurology consultancies.

The clinically admirable ability of all those people to be more wrong about everything than Harald Hardrada and Spartacus does not in any way dim the road their admirers see ahead: for them, everything the rest of us see as plates suspended in mid-air is Settled Science….as unequivocally proven by the experts they adore.

Collectivist corporoctratic Phlogiston, they know for sure, is the missing link.

Christine Lagarde has this week gone from being the architect of IMF incompetence to being the Head of European Central Bank incontinence.

Here’s a selection of what she has had to say so far….example 1:

‘Declining trend growth on the back of slowing productivity growth and an ageing population, and the legacy of the financial crisis have driven interest rates down. This low interest rate and low inflation environment has significantly reduced the scope for the ECB and other central banks worldwide to ease monetary policy in the face of an economic downturn. And structural challenges, such as new threats to environmental sustainability, rapid digitalisation, globalisation and evolving financial structures, have also affected price developments and, therefore, the environment that central banks monitor, forecast and need to factor into their policies.’

Some commonsense points:

  • What is declining trend growth?
  • What are price developments?
  • Am I too cynical here, or is ‘the environment that central banks monitor, forecast and need to factor into their policies’ an excuse for getting everything wrong all the time?

Here’s another classic vapour from Chrissie:

‘the coronavirus is adding a new layer of uncertainty that will weigh on the eurozone economy.

….and gives me another left-field reason for being a predictive nonentity.

“Nobody trusts you,” German lawmaker Joerg Meuthen told European Central Bank chief Lagarde last week, as he raged against negative interest rates.

ECB presidents emit little beyond market-friendy BS as a rule, but the above encounter in the European Parliament shows how even the Beleeeevers can spot a featherweight when they see one.

It also illustrates why the eurozone single-currency millstone is a heavyweight heading for the canvas when it comes to the EU economy.

The only experts worthy of the title are those who prove to be right.