Monday, 14 April 2008

sub-Prime Minister

It is not my role as an educator or a financial commentator to pass judgement on the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. However, I cannot resist.
It is true that since 1992 Britain has not suffered any form of recession in GDP growth and since 1997 the Labour government can take substantial credit for that. However, it is painfully obvious that GB was a much more successful Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) under Tony Blair than he is Prime Minister. What he has forgotten it seems is that being convinced you deserve the top job is not the same as being able to do it. At the moment one can best describe his performance as a classic example of Brownian motion which aficionados of stochastic processes will recognise is characterised by both drift and randomness.
What is becoming obvious now is that Iraq aside Tony Blair was a class act. Large sections of the British public actually liked him. They realised that they were being sold snake-oil a lot of the time but he at least did it with enthusiasm and panache. He was also committed to market solutions where the state has palpably failed to deliver. In that he was willing to take the country into areas where even Maggie Thatcher’s bottle failed her. The ones who really loathed the blessed Tony were that rather sad group of left-wingers and hand wringers who were totally convinced that if only he had done what they said then a nirvana of social welfare, economic plenty and ethical rectitude would have been achieved. But what Tony knew was that markets are the one human institution that are genuinely based upon the freedom of the individual to choose, and that they generally trump any number of committees, think-tanks, politburo’s or pub bar pundits when the real social choices have to be made.
Ps: There is a rather interesting article in the March 2008 edition of Scientific American on the ability of markets to outperform opinion polls and prediction tools when it really counts. I commend that article to you Bloggees.

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