Thursday, December 31, 2009

Keynes on British industrial history

I will leave aside Felix Salmon calling me “socially useless” (as a short seller) until I am in a position to reveal my pithy reply.  For the moment all I will confess to socially awkward and highly indulgent. 

In the highly indulgent vein I have just finished reading Tony Judt’s truly stunning history of Postwar Europe.*  Anyway – I thought I would leave you from a quote from Keynes – made at the end of the (Second World) War.

If by some sad geographical slip the American Air Force (it is too late now to hope for much from the enemy) were to destroy every factory on the North East coast and in Lancashire (at an hour when the directors were sitting there and no-one else) we should have nothing to fear.  How else are we to regain the exuberant inexperience which is necessary, it seems for success, I cannot surmise.

For the US Air Force read the policies of Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and – we can hope – the ensuing discrediting of all financial management. 




*This improves dramatically on the last bit of Mark Mazower’s equally stunning modern history.   


  1. Those whinging on about short sellers are similar to those who moan about inherited wealth.

    They would do well to remember Francisco d'Anconia's timeless and important advice.

    "Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth--the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? Do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you; loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one, would not bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune. Money is a living power that dies without its root. Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it".

    anon... Bob Dobb

  2. Decided to comment myself on Felix's post:


  3. Lifeguarding, on the other hand, serves a social function. You're not entirely useless, John!

  4. Why don't the british make computer chips?

    They couldn't figure out a way to make them leak oil.

    HM would be most unimpressed.

  5. Somewhat off topic, I am finding Judt's book a delight to read, while every single sentence in Mazower's book is a struggle.

    Judt's language is clear and straight-forward.

    In Mazower's book every third sentence seems to be an entry to an antonym language contest: 'whilst', 'uninterested... with the partial exception', 'only where', 'counter-example', 'lack of', 'rarely', 'unwilling to defuse this rural discontent'.
    One sentence reads 'melodramatic, not to say farcical'. Well, dear author, you just said it.