DO PANIC!

Normally, I’m delighted to see ‘Experts’ confounded.    I never believe them in the first place, so I’m not in the least surprised when they are found to have been talking out of their – well, not the appropriate orifice.

A particular bane of mine is when some supposedly august body of learning spends a million or so pounds and several years investigating say – the effects on health and well being of consuming fizzy, sugary drinks instead of water.    Finally – fanfare of trumpets – expert opinion informs us that the consumption of fizzy drinks will make you fat, rot your teeth and probably addle your brain.     Well, blow me down with a feather.   What a surprise!    We’d never have guessed that.   How the sum of human knowledge is increased.

But Financial experts – now I supposed them to be different.    The magnitude of my ignorance, and, it has to be said, my total lack of interest in the mechanics of the subject – have led me to believe – no, actually hope – that they knew what they were talking about.

I know how to spend and how not to spend.   I understand the principles of book-keeping.   But basically I just want everybody to live in modest comfort.   Speculating on the stock exchange, compound interest rates, the futures market – there’s more hope of my understanding Klingon.   So it’s comforting to think that although it’s all a mystery to me, somewhere out there are people who have all the answers.

But I’m beginning to wonder if my faith in the Priests of Mammon has been misplaced.   I’m surrounded in this family by economists, accountants, finance men and they are all very disapproving when you say their field is not a science but a black art.     It’s all guess-work, guile, greed and sophistry.    What’s more, it doesn’t work.    It does work, they assure me righteously in the same True Believer tone that Gordon Brown said, ‘Boom and bust is over’.

It is disconcerting to feel in the present crisis that expert opinion at the moment is in a barely concealed panic.   It hasn’t a foggy idea how to get us out of this mess, any more than I do.    I’d think it was funny if it wasn’t so sxerious.

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