Winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy 2016

Wednesday 14 October 2015

When economists play political games

I saw you talking to those people the other day. You really should think twice before being seen to talk to people like that.

Similar lines could be taken from countless novels about class, race or some other form of social exclusion. When I agreed to be part of a group that would occasionally advise the new Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell on economic policy, I must admit I hadn’t expected something like that to be said to me by economists I respect. Political hacks would say it for sure, but economists interested in promoting good policy?

Just to be clear, McDonnell’s group places no restrictions on what its members can say in public about policy. We are not required to support or endorse Labour policy. Indeed, to the extent that Labour does adopt a policy that any of its members disagree with, the group gives those members a slightly higher public profile if we make that disagreement public. As the media generally fails to distinguish good economic advice from political spin, a direct channel like this group seemed like a good idea, with no cost to its members except their time. Except ...

On Monday McDonnell announced a U-turn: he would no longer support Osborne’s new fiscal charter. The media focus, as ever, was on the ‘political shambles’ of a U-turn, with only the occasional suggestion that the charter itself was economic nonsense. (The body of this FT leader was an exception.) A few economists on twitter, however, suggested that this political shambles somehow reflected badly on the members of the advisory group. One described the members of the group being ‘branded’ by association. If other economists reading this sympathise with that view, you need to read on.

As this FT piece suggests, the new Labour position of not supporting the charter is likely to find general support among the advisory group. (We have not yet met.) Indeed, as I said to the FT, a huge majority of macroeconomists — particularly if they know something about fiscal policy — would recommend opposing the charter. I have no idea if the views of any of the group had any influence on this U-turn, but if it did that means the group is having some influence, which has to be a positive thing. Indeed, as I know some of those making this ‘guilt by association’ charge actually oppose Osborne’s charter, they should welcome the fact that we may have helped change Labour’s position. Instead they are saying his change of mind reflects badly on us!? It makes no logical sense, unless something else is going on here.

As I said in an earlier post, I am happy to give advice on macro policy to any of the mainstream political parties, whether I agree with their current macro or other policies or not. Over the past five or more years I have given public and private advice to Treasury officials working for the actual Chancellor. I feel strongly that governments should and can follow good macroeconomics whatever their political persuasion. For me to say I’m not going to talk to you because I do not like your policy on X would be as silly and childish as it sounds.

So what is going on with economists who would not blink an eye at me giving advice to a Chancellor whose policies I often (but not always) oppose, but suggest that when it comes to the Labour party there is some kind of guilt by association? It seems to me that they are, knowingly or not, part of a political game. The game is to give the current Labour leadership some kind of pariah status. If we were talking about a party like the BNP, that might make some sense, but for the main opposition party in which a radical leadership is going to have to reach a consensus with their less radical MPs it does not. Unless of course your primary interest is to support another party. Which is why the government and many journalists want to foster this pariah status frame of mind. It is a shame that some economists who are parroting this guilt by association line seem not to understand the political game they are inevitably playing.


  1. Yep. You are right to try to make them a little more sensible.

    But when lefties got mad at Friedman for going to Chile....

    1. Not sure advising the Labour party and advising a dictator who had overthrown a democratically elected government is quite the same thing, although if you read some people you would think it was worse!

    2. I taught economics in Cuba for 5 years, thereby (indirectly) giving policy advice to the Castro brothers (Raoul seems maybe to have listened?). Which makes me as evil as Friedman (at least, I tried to be). Funny nobody has criticised me yet.

    3. If the UK Labour Party were in power, and had lined a bunch of Lonodon financiers up against a wall and shot them, it would be equally loathsome for Prof. Wren-Lewis to offer them fiscal advice.

      Since as far as I know, Labour is in opposition, would like for finance to pay a little more in taxes, and perhaps encourage them to ride bicycles in the City, not so much.

  2. This isn't fair on your critics.

    First, there was and is nothing preventing you giving any advice you like privately, as many economists did recently for the Greek government. By adding your name publicly to the list of the usual suspects (Blanchflower, Pettifor, Mazzucato, Stiglitz) you lend your credibility, and, whether you like it or not, endorsement. I am certain that McDonnell is more interested in that than in anything you may actually say.The credibility of some on that list should be a warning signal.

    Second, there were and are good reasons why several prominent members of the previous Labour frontbench team refused to serve under Corbyn and McDonnell (Umunna, Reeves, Hunt, Leslie, Coooper, Reynolds etc). They didn't want to lend their name in support, Others such as Falconer took a different view, but to deny, as you would seemingly like to do, that there was any ethical dilemma at all is wrong. You have gone to work not for the Labour party in general, but for the Labour party as currently led.

    Third, that McDonnell and Corbyn have, in the past, expressed some pretty bonkers views on economic and tax policy is not really the point. I am sure you would like to ameliorate that. Far, far more problematic is their appalling record in endorsing or apologising for

    -the IRA
    -Hamas and Hezbollah
    -Putin's Russia
    -anti-western forces generally

    For me, this would be a deal breaker. I wouldn't choose to work for, or lend my credibility to, such leadership.

    I hope for your sake that you went in with your eyes open and properly checked on McDonnell's past statements.

    Fourth, Labour can only win if Corbyn and McDonnell go. The longer they stay, the longer Tory hegemony will last. Lending them support makes less likely what needs to be done.

    Fifth, the factor the other way is, as the FT says today

    "The Tories do not have a monopoly on economic wisdom. Their fiscal stance in particular merits challenge. Yet the opposition cannot hold to a clear line for more than a few weeks at a time. This is a disaster for Labour, but also deeply unhealthy for British politics."

    Because McDonnell is not competent (unlike say Balls or Cooper) it is vitally important that he gets serious advice that he listens to from somewhere and that an alternative narrative to Osborne's is put forward.

    This created, for you, a serious ethical dilemma. You wanted to help Labour, but the only way of doing so was you thought to lend your credibility to a leadership team of very dubious views, who are bound to lose.

    I would have made the opposite choice, I think, but I don't deny that it was hard, nor would I criticise you. I suspect that if you were at a different stage of your career, you may have made a different decision.

    1. First, the fact that you call my fellow group members 'usual suspects' rather than good economists is revealing. Would you like to spell out their dubious credibility?

      Second, I think the lending credibility meme is part of the pariah status idea. If Osborne asked me to be on an advisory panel, would you say I was lending him credibility by saying yes (which I would, by the way)? That is different, you might respond, because McDonnell has said dubious things about foreign policy in the past. Hence, pariah status. I guess you would have said the same thing to anyone advising Ken Livingstone in the past.

      Third, being in the shadow cabinet and being on an advisory panel where there is no obligation to support party policy are very different things.

      Fourth, I think your real driver is your point (4). That is why you want to give McDonnell pariah status. But think where that logically leaves you. You want to encourage everything you can do make Labour look bad and the government look good so that the present team's failure becomes obvious as soon as possible. Do you really want to do that?

      Your last sentence is wrong, by the way. I think most economists are mature enough not to play these political games.

    2. As I hoped I had made clear, what really drives me is point 3.

      The one of the five you ignored.

    3. I didn't ignore it. I asked you about Ken Livingstone.

    4. I too am appalled about Corbyn supporting anti-western forces generally. I have spent my whole political life decrying these anti-western forces generally and to have someone supporting any anti-western forces generally tends to make me spitting mad to the point where I remember to take my anti-psychotic meds. I refuse to listen to any of Corbyn's and McDonnell's weasley well-though-out excuses and comfort myself that I am fighting the good fight against those anti-western forces generally.
      So if you believe in the politics of just enough and not a little more, join me and the anti-eastern, anti-northern, anti-southern, pro-western forces generally if not universally etc. etc. It's really cold on this little ledge but you will not be completely on your own.

    5. Spinning Hugo, self-righteous nonsense. New Labour masterminded the Iraq War/Occupation and financial deregulation - the biggest foreign policy and economic policy disasters respectively of the last 30 years. Bringing back New labour is not acceptable to the public, that is now clear. It is also not likely to be acceptable to many people here reading this blog as they supported Tory austerity policy during a recession which goes against the most basic of principles of macro-economic stabilisation policy. On Hamas, Putin, IRA etc your need to study a bit neo-realism in political science. The fact is, if we are going to get peace we are going to have to cut a deal with these people. Anyway two of those groups - especially Hamas consist of local support groups - there main job is providing basic services for their suffering populations. That is why they are strongly supported locally and no alternative exists to them. There are moderates in these groups willing to negotiate. We cannot expect to get far with just dealing with cosmopolitan English speaking elites - that is the mistake the US made in Afghanistan and Iraq during the Occupations. On Putin, we must understand how we rattled Russia with rapid NATO expansion and how that undermined trust -during the vital window period starting with Glasnost/Perestroika that is really all the point that Corbyn made, and many foreign policy experts have made it. On the IRA, Clinton knew we had to get them involved in the negotiation process.

      Even if they have said the wrong things in the past, Corbyn and the current Labour leadership have shown a willingness to listen and correct their views. Wren Lewis and all our experts in economic, foreign and other policy should make the most of that.

    6. Would I have advised Ken Livingstone?

      More difficult.

      Livingstone doesn't have as strong a track record of opposing Nato, the EU and the United States in all that they do as Corbyn does

      (which for anon is what I meant by 'the west').

      He hasn't, unlike JC, appeared as a presenter on Press TV

      (This is a puppet station for the Iranian state).

      Nor is he a chair of Stop the War (sic) coalition who said it was justified to kill British troops in Iraq

      I don't think he has said it was an 'honor and pleasure' to host his 'friends' from Hamas and Hezbelloah

      Or invited Raed Salah, a virulent anti-semite, to tea in Parliament and called him a 'very honoured citizen'.

      Or donated money to self-proclaimed holocaust denier Paul Eisen

      Or spoken of the 'bravery' of the IRA who need to be 'honored'

      and then laughably said that this was done in order to save lives, when the words used were in 2003, 5 years after the Good Friday Agreement, and nearly 10 after the first IRA ceasefire.

      Like Corbyn and McDonnell, I too opposed the Iraq War, but unlike them I do not think it is remotely plausible that Blair is a war criminal who should stand trial at the Hague. I think that is inflammatory nonsense.

      Now, Ken Livingstone has done some pretty stupid things, such as accusing a Jewish journalist of acting like a concentration camp guard, but he has nothing like the track record of Corbyn and McDonnell of making offensive statements, or of, associating with people with disgusting views he does not share. One reason for this is that Ken has spent decades seeking prominent public office, whereas Corbyn and McDonnell were obscure backbench MPs free to say and do whatever they liked. Even so, I didn't vote for Livingstone in 2012 when as the Labour candidate in London he should have easily defeated Johnson when the Tories were at their most unpopular.

      If it were important enough, I probably could swallow hard and advise Livingstone. McDonnell was, of course, sacked by Livingstone when at the GLC for being too extreme in his approach.

      I would ask not to do so publicly however, especially if there was a fear that he just wanted my name and not the advice..

      With Corbyn and McDonnell the fourth point I gave above would mean I wouldn't help them at all, because I want Labour to win the 2020 General Election. I don't think that is the primary aim of Corbyn and McDonnell: they want to transform the Labour party.

      As I said, I think it was a difficult ethical call for you, and I don't criticise you for making a different one from the one I would have done. My criticism is that you don't seem to even recognise the reasons against your decision.

      It will however be interesting to see whether the high priest of the anti-market, John McDonnell, really wants to listen to you. That he chose both to adopt Osborne's ludicrous fiscal charter, and to reverse that decision, without any consultation with his panel of experts (see Pettiifor on yesterday's WAtO) doesn't bode well.

      I don't think the Labour party deserves pariah status, I voted for it in 2015 as I usually do.

      That doesn't mean I would work for Corbyn and McDonnell.

    7. "Would you like to spell out their dubious credibility?"

      er ... how much do you know about Anne Pettifor?

    8. SH. I am not working for Corbyn and McDonnell. I am offering them my professional advice on macroeconomics. That really is a big difference.

      Let me try another approach. University economists are constantly urged to try and get their knowledge and ideas across to policymakers. I can imagine the reaction of a university I worked for if I had been asked to give advice to George Osborne about, say, fiscal councils and I said no, I cannot do that because I disagree with what are doing on tax credits, or your government's relationship with some overseas country.

      They might respond as follows. You have been paid out of the public purse to improve the state of economic knowledge. It is not up to you who you share that knowledge with. Indeed, if someone from a mainstream political party asks you for your expertise on the issues you study, you have a public duty to respond.

      Do you think they would be wrong to say that?

    9. If you were asked to provide professional advice which is going to be actually used in this way, fine.

      But, if your thought your name was also going to be used to provide political cover for Osborne you should refuse.

      Again, as I said, there is nothing whatsoever preventing you giving whatever advice you like privately.

      How you are actually being used is this (see the following minute)

      (Although McDonnell seems to think it is a 'Simon Wred-Lewis' who he has appointed).

      It will be *exactly* the same as the way Joseph Stiglitz was used by the SNP in the run-up to the referendum. "Our plans for an independent Scotland make sense - look we have a Nobel prize-winner advising us." What Stiglitz actually thought wasn't significant for the SNP (And on the important question of the Scottish currency he was, as we know, entirely wrong- and providing political cover in an area a long way from his central area of expertise.)

      What advice did the panel provide McDonnell with regard to his (two) decisions on Osborne's fiscal charter?

      What impact has the panel had so far, save as political cover for McDonnell?

      Again, to be very clear, I don't criticise you for making the judgment call you have, although I would have made a different one. The man who in that speech said that "fiscal policy will be used to pay down the debt and lower the deficit" needs all the help he can get, and a proper opposition to government policy is needed.

      I do criticise you for not perceiving the reasons others have for disagreeing with you.

      It may be that this is a difference in temperament. Economists are remorselessly forward looking. What matters is making things go better in the future and the past is so much spilled milk. (Although even adopting that perspective, assisting the Labour party as currently led is wholly counter-productive if you ever want to see a change in how the UK is governed.)

      Looking back, as I would, at how Corbyn and McDonnell have behaved in the past, I would find it impossible to assist them now. I do understand that others feel differently. You aren't publicly assisting a party led by Blair, Brown, Darling, or Cooper, much as I am completely certain you would prefer that you were.

      REF Impact studies don't require this behaviour.

    10. In my previous post on giving advice, I wrote "The second reason why I might have said no is if I thought the advisory panel was for presentation only, and all advice would be ignored."

      So when the U-turn occurred, a number of people said maybe this might reflect the influence of people on the panel. Now I do not know whether advice I and others gave publicly or privately to the team helped produced the U-turn. But you seem to have already decided we are just going to be used as cover and have no influence. Well so far the evidence is against you.

      But there's more. The reason I wouldn't serve on an advisory panel of any party if I thought my views would be ignored is that it would waste my time. I would be less bothered about giving them cover, for a simple reason. Party A gets economist X to be on advisory panel. Given X's views/record etc, Party A gets some benefit. Party A then ignores X, and does things X thinks are wrong. X then says this publicly. Party A suffers a cost. Its not clear who has won and who has lost here.

    11. Re: being used as cover or actually influencing policy opinion - these two things are not mutually exclusive.

    12. I mean, I suppose when you use the phrase 'used as cover' it sounds like they should be, but this is the wrong formulation. You can have a genuine influence on policy at the same time as the people you advise gain clout by association with a respected academic. You're part of the game whether you like it or not - but this isn't a bad thing! There's no escape from the political the progression of the tone of your blog has suggested.

    13. I am, of course, delighted that you will be wholly uninhibited in your criticism of Labour when it makes mistakes on economic policy.

      It would have been good in hindsight to have started with the original decision to back the fiscal charter, about which the panel members were very quiet for the last month.

    14. Oh dear, the tone has dropped. Perhaps one reason they were quiet was because in the same interview where he said he would support the charter he also said Labour would go for current balance, so the thinking was confused. Which is why I wrote in my post about giving advice: "In particular their position on fiscal policy is similar to the one I suggested here, although getting the message clear probably requires some work."

      As you know about politics you will understand how chaotic everything was after the elections. You will also know that if that kind of confusion happens, the obvious and best thing to do is to work directly to clear the confusion up. As I said, I cannot say how much that went on, but we got the right result in the end.

    15. oracle133: the political game I'm talking about here is trying to give particular individuals or parties pariah status. As you say, there are many political games, although I still believe it is possible to keep them away from my economics.

  3. if are you going to be tarred by association, that is an empirical question about the perceptions of a large number of people.

    you are referring to Tony Yates, right? I think you might be at cross purposes somewhat and he was just asserting that this guilt by association thing is going to happen, inevitably and predictably (in his view). He may or may not be right. Here you seem to be interpreting as an participant in that, as opposed to somebody merely making an empirical assertion. I didn't think he was saying it's right, or that Corbyn ought to be treated as a pariah

    1. Tony was the most persistent, but he was not alone. It was also the second time he had expressed these sentiments. He didn't say what he called branding was wrong or illogical. He didn't explain why McDonnell is different from Osborne in this respect. In that sense his comments were much the same as those a political hack might have made, and I responded accordingly.

      Try to put yourself in my shoes. You agree to advise the finance minister of an opposition party. You are then told publicly by an esteemed colleague that this will have a negative impact on your reputation. How would you respond? Would you feel any better towards them if they had then said I'm just making an empirical observation.

    2. Simon - well, I don't know, quite possibly I would have felt the same way as you. In case of Corbyn I reckon it was pretty obvious how it would going to play out at least in the eyes of many, people thinking what they do about him and his team, and I might have responded by saying personal reputational damage was a risk I was willing to take, and perhaps that my reputation might be sullied in the eyes of the press pack or other fools, but less so for those with their brain switched on. If I am right that Tony was observing not endorsing, he could have been clearer about that. By the way, if you had agreed to advise Osborne, I think you'd have gotten tarred with a brush there too.

    3. I appreciate what you say. But on the last point I think you are wrong. As I matter of fact I have advised Osborne's officials on issues where I have expertise over the last six years. If this had become known, I do not think any academic economist would have thought twice about it. I do not think Tony would have reacted in the same way at all - he would have thought it was what you did as a academic with expertise. I do not even think the press would have thought anything of it.

      The reason that this is different is because of the political game being played to try and suggest the Labour leadership are somehow different, and therefore should not be treated like other politicians.

    4. yep you have a point in that last sentence, perhaps with qualification that some people sincerely believe the current Labour leadership is a disaster zone.

      What I had in mind re Osborne is how the label "one of Osborne's economic advisers" would be taken by the more, um, passionate sections of the elft

    5. I agree trying to attach pariah status to individuals is no preserve of the right. As I tried to allude to at the beginning, its almost a basic human trait.

  4. You are a Labour supporter in your own right. What's wrong with being recognised as such?

    1. I would have accepted a similar invitation from George Osborne. Does that make me a Conservative supporter? All that matters in this debate is that I'm a macro economist with quite a lot of expertise about fiscal policy.

  5. This is the sharp end of the knowledge transmission problem, and other economists after these last 7 years should recognise it as such, given that the UK has performed worse than Japan did from 1990 taking respective demographics into account.

  6. I am rather worried about John McDonell. I am not an economist, but I have been studying the work of some of the post Keynesians and Modern Monetary theorists, and I find much of what John McDonell contradictory.
    Central to macro-economics is the sectorial balances. Now, if a country has a huge trade deficit, and it requires the private sector to prosper (or save, as Keynes put it), then surely we must have a fiscal deficit? The deficit is only the difference between taxes and expenditure, so if the economy is doing well, so what?

    But John has fallen in with the neoliberal nonsense - I read in the independent today -
    John -
    "As I wrote in The Guardian two months ago: Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is committed to eliminating the deficit and creating an economy in which we live within our means.

    We will soon be consulting with our Economic Advisory Committee on a statement of fiscal principles and a detailed strategy for reducing the deficit. But we are firmly resolved that this deficit reduction must be carried out in a just way which does not punish pensioners, young people and those who rely on tax credits".

    This is so depressing. If you have not done so, can you give him some advice on macro economics?

    Bill Mitchell is also very concerned, in this piece.

  7. It is a shame that some economists who are parroting this guilt by association line seem not to understand the political game they are inevitably playing.

    I would suggest some of them (the more vocal the more likely) understand it all to well and are trying to make it very clear that they have not been "talking to those people".

  8. Quite right. McDonnell has not handled this well but that's his problem not yours.

    Personally I'd like see him submit a set of amendments exposing the failings of the charter but still asserting fiscal responsibility. That way Labour's opposition could be defended against the 'deficit denial' charge.

  9. Can only say: good for you!

    I did hear Stephanie Flanders (this morning?) pretty much saying that the Fiscal Charter made no sense, but the junior Government Minister defending it was reduced to saying in effect it's there because it's there and so it has to be supported because it's there. Oh yes, he did add that the Government must 'live within its means' so he must be a Very Serious Person.

    A fair summary of what passes for economic debate in political/media circles at the moment, I'm afraid. I trust you have reached a position of sufficient eminence in your chosen field that your 'orthodox-heterodox' views cause you no more than passing inconvenience.

  10. Good analysis. The sooner the advisory group starts to meet and support policy development, the better.

  11. If more competent economists had been advising policymakers in the UK, US, Japan and Europe during the recent recovery - an hence had "associated themselves with various parties" - the recoveries would have been much better and there wouldn't have been such an awful waste caused by austerity.

  12. Quite right to call up these motor-mouths.

    One thing (among many) I don't understand: Labour's policy has improved has it not? Is this not reason to congratulate those who may have instigated the improvement?

    1. "Quite right to call up these motor-mouths."
      Why? If we think policy is silly, we think it is silly. That it is less silly than the insane Tory policy is neither hear not there. There are serious problems with some policies e.g. People's QE. That dosen't mean I hate Richard Murphy.
      I have the same view on some policies like the current balance.
      "Is this not reason to congratulate those who may have instigated the improvement?"
      I don't think WL needs congratulations. He is a grown man.

    2. Apparently not! I do not think anyone would disagree that McDonnell's initial plan to support the charter was foolish. What is sad is that his U-turn has meant the media has focused almost entirely on this, with very little discussion of the merits or otherwise of the charter itself. The media just loves a political dust up and dislikes talking about economics.

      What is really sad is when economists follow the media's sense of priorities.

    3. Since Thatcher's U turn speech at least, it seems to be the principle that it is better to be wrong and damage the country and be consistent than to change and do things that are sensible.

  13. Well said. You have been a vocal critic of the Tory's misguided economic programme. But that is not enough. Whether you like the Government or opposition is irrelevant. You want to get the right economic policies in whoever the parties are - especially if they are likely to win popular support and government. You are right to focus on just that. If you think the antics of the likes of Tony Yates seem childish, it very likely is because they are - and who cares about that anyway? Sometimes I think these guys are alumni of the central bank equivalent of Pier Gaveston.

  14. Of course if governments only borrowed from their own central bank and not from the bond market (i.e. followed a policy of MMT) they wouldn't need a charter to tell them when they had to stop borrowing. Their MPC would do that when inflation went beyond target. Thus the trade-off between interest rate rises and tax rises/spending cuts would be more explicit than it currently is.

    1. Better yet bring back National Savings :D

  15. You may have noticed during John McDonnell's speech against Osborne's fiscal charter that he attributed his change of mind in part to professional economic advice. If you had anything to do with this I commend you for your efforts, but it should be noted that he also put forward an alternative reason for the change. He argued that a trip to Redcar in which he had conversations with those who have lost their jobs as a result of the recent closure of the plant was a strong cause for his u-turn. This rampant protectionism frankly made me cringe. Would you really argue that mothballing the Redcar steel plant is better way forward than investing into new technologies and jobs in those areas, or that this is the way to argue against what quite frankly shouldn't be hard to argue about?

    Would you support this method of argument and would you try to persuade him to change his views on this point?

    1. I have not listened to the speech, but I have heard about this. Politicians will always be politicians. McDonnell talks about redundant workers in Redcar, Osborne talks about people sleeping off a life on benefits. Both are appealing to popular sentiments, and perhaps reveal where sympathies lie. But in the end its actual policies that matter.

    2. "This rampant protectionism frankly made me cringe. "

      Too much neo-classical theory and not enough history - I suspect a problem also with Yates. It is important that we keep an industrial base - it is an important labour and other supply source - needed for the development of new industry. The destruction of the industrial base under Thatcher and Blair and financialisation has arguably been bad for this country and has made manufacturing and high productivity led recoveries difficult.. We have lost a lot of the skill and infrastructural base and suppport networks that are indirectly kept alive by this production. (Although you are right, mothballing it is not ideal; and really new technology should be invested in it.) In successful industrial countries like Germany, Japan and China, steel industries are kept intact, even when unprofitable.

  16. Simon, I admire you for getting involved in the real world process - with all its imperfections, sometimes desparation and hopelessness, to try and influence policy. The easy route would be of course to criticise from the armchair and run models. The chaos of the real world might be a bit daunting, but you should not let this opportunity go.

  17. The origin of Yate's arrogance and cynicism is this: what he does has very little real world relevance; BUT, he could like most of his former BOE colleagues, with some minimal modification, gone and done some Merton and Scholes types of stuff in the City - where he would have fitted right in.

    Sorry mate, you don't get the fast cars, fly off to dinner in Paris every night, pretty clothes and the girls.

    I've seen this before.

    1. Merton and Scholes? Didn't they own that investment firm that went tits up at the turn of the century?

  18. There is a 'Minnesota; contingent in the BOE which Yates belonged to and needs a Kocherlakota led cleanout.

  19. If only we had more journalism like this:


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