Economics Views

July 13, 2011

If your face seems to be awry,
it’s no use blaming the looking glass.

Nikolai Gogol—it may not be sensible, but it’s what everybody does.

Nobody resigns these days.
Rebekah Brooks can’t have it both ways: either she knew what journalists at the News of the World were doing, or she didn’t. If the one, she was guilty of moral delinquency; if the other, of administrative incompetence. In either event, she’s disqualified herself from high office at the newspaper.

No matter how reprehensible the behaviour.
Her only “honourable” option in the circumstances was resignation. That she chose not to take it spoke volumes about her code of ethics. That the Murdocks, père et fils, chose not to sack her said much the same about theirs.

Society must exact penalties in other ways.
It looks now as if the takeover of BSkyB won’t proceed. Not until a number of executive heads have rolled will it be possible for the proposal be reconsidered. In the meantime, a forced breakup of NI might have to be contemplated.

It used to be possible to trust the police.
The Metropolitan Police Force appears similarly to have snared itself: caught between the Scylla of incompetence and the Kharybdis of corruption. Its officers have been responsible for a good deal of bungled inquiries over the years, but few rivalled the comprehensive ineptitude of this exercise! The question therefore arises: were the mistakes accidental or deliberate?

No longer.
In a sense, as in the case of Ms Brooks, it doesn’t matter. Senior officers have damned themselves in either event. Fools on the one hand, knaves on the other. Heads must roll.

And politicians?
And what about the politicians? Weren’t they too close to Murdock? Didn’t their enthusiasm to win the man’s imprimatur cause them to overlook his misdemeanours?

No worse than the others, but no better either.
Cameron is probably most vulnerable on this front. Why did he employ Coulson? Because of the man’s general ability to communicate, or because of his particular skill in liaising with Murdock’s editors? If the latter, was there a quid pro quo?

Will the guilty talk?
At the moment, nobody seems to be prepared to say anything. Each of the protagonists hopes his own silence about the misdemeanours of others will ensure theirs about his. Will that keep things under wraps? Not necessarily. A couple of minor revelations could break the logjam.

Or maintain silence?
On the other hand, it’s not impossible that the miscreants escape the rigours of the law. Theirs is a powerful alliance. If other news stories should start to grab the attention of the public, the hacking scandal could find itself be kicked into the long grass again.

The euro’s crisis may divert attention.
The principal alternative story at the moment is Europe’s financial crisis. It’s been brewing for months, and there’ll be many journalists, politicians and policemen who try assiduously to keep it going. They’ll claim, fatuously, that on its outcome will rest the fate of the world economy.

Europe has a lot for which to answer.
Nonsense, of course. The world is headed for recession and the euro for implosion, but the two events are only obscurely connected. So who’ll be held responsible? Who’ll have to pick up the pieces?

Its economics nonsenses most of all.
Not the lunatic central bankers who caused the problem. Not the demented politicians who devised the EMS. A shame: it’s the privileged wot gets the pleasure; the others wot gets the blame!

Equity slippage in prospect.
Unsurprisingly, market indices are sliding. The central bank in Beijing can’t stop the rot. Nor can any other. As a rule, officials (cacoëthes attingendi) do more harm than good.


One Response to “Economics Views”

  1. Cape on July 14th, 2011 3:46 pm

    We all suffer from a need for achievement to some extent. I guess you’d prefer they go on the dole rather than stay in work where they do more harm.

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