Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
I love the weekend FT. Its 'how tos' about organising un-ostentatious hedge fund charity parties;
Its good practice guides for tax avoiding family trust fund administrators.
Tim 'austere' Harford's 'Undercover Economist'
Counting the number of times the words 'non' and 'dom' appear per page
And, of course, the unmissable problem page where agony aunt Adam Smith puts his hidden hand (see what I did there?) to solving readers' problems via the medium of political economy.
The letters are not quite as good as the Mail's, but still a marvel.
My favourite 'Am I alone in thinking' from this week's green inker is here:
Thursday, 3 February 2011
George Soros has had an epiphany about Marx, Eric Hobsbawm tells us.
In an interview with the Observer the hostorian includes Soros among those capitalists who think Marx might have been on to something afterall.
Soros is not alone in re-positioning himself in this way; in deciding that there must be ‘something about this Marx guy.’
Apparently Nicolas Sarkozy allowed himself to be snapped carrying a copy of Capital at the height of the Credit Crunch. And I recall an anecdote about Tony Blair devouring the Quran during a bout of shuttle diplomacy post 9-11.
I think it unlikely that either Sarkozy or Soros actually read Marx, much less understand his work.
Check this interview with Bill Moyers.
BILL MOYERS: One of the British newspapers this morning had a headline, "Welcome to Socialism." It's not going that way, is it?
GEORGE SOROS: Well, you know, it's very interesting. Actually, these market fundamentalists are making the same mistake as Marx did. You see, socialism would have worked very well if the rulers had the interests of the people really at heart. But they were pursuing their self-interests. Now, in the housing market, the people who originated the houses earned the fee.
And the people who then owned the mortgages their interests were not actually looked after by the agents that were selling them the mortgages. So you have a, what is called an agent principle problem in socialism. And you have the same agent principle problem in this free market fundamentalism.
BILL MOYERS: The agent is concerned only with his own interests.
GEORGE SOROS:That's right.
BILL MOYERS:Not with...
GEORGE SOROS:That's right.
BILL MOYERS:The interest of...
GEORGE SOROS:Of the people who they're supposed to represent.
BILL MOYERS: But in both socialism and capitalism, you get the rhetoric of empathy for people. [????]
GEORGE SOROS: And it's a false ideology. Both Marxism and market fundamentalism are false ideologies.
BILL MOYERS:Is there an ideology that...
GEORGE SOROS:Is not false?
GEORGE SOROS: I think the only one is the one that I'm proposing; namely, the recognition that all our ideas, all our human constructs have a flaw in it. And perfection is not attainable. And we must engage in critical thinking and correct our mistakes.
BILL MOYERS: And that's one...
GEORGE SOROS: That's my ideology. As a child, I experienced Fascism, the Nazi occupation and then Communism, two false ideologies. And I learned that both of those ideologies are false. And now I was shocked when I found that even in a democracy people can be misled to the extent that we've been misled in the last few years.
BILL MOYERS: The book is "The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means". George Soros, thank you for being with me.
GEORGE SOROS: Pleasure.