December 31, 2012

The irrationality of it all

Posted in Sunday Business Post · 146 comments ·
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Over the past few days, I have received all sorts of economic forecasts of 2013 penned by economists in large financial outfits who are confidently telling me what is going to happen next year. Most of these guys were the same people who didn’t foresee this crisis, yet few have lost their jobs and here they are, without the slightest hint of doubt, outlining what is likely to happen in 2013.

Of all the characters we should fear, the overconfident economic forecaster is surely one of them. When the Queen of England asked why none of these professionals warned of the credit crunch, she was only articulating what many people must have thought, which is “if you guys are so clever, why didn’t you see this crisis coming – and if you didn’t see it coming, why should I listen to you now”?

The failure of economics to predict human behaviour is a significant charge that modern economists have not properly answered and the failure to answer this accusation adequately has undermined economics as a whole.

In the final column of the year, we are going to take a quick look at the state of the economics game and ask whether the fundamental laws of traditional economics bear any relation to reality or offer any insight into how people actually behave every day.

Maybe the first place to start in analyzing the failure of economics is to start at the first assumption of modern economics: that people are rational.

Economics, as taught in our schools and universities, begins with the assumption that we are rational. Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans are possibly the most irrational of animals. We are driven by emotions, exuberances, impulses and frenzies. We fall in love, gamble and even support useless football teams.

These irrational, illogical and beautifully human urges dominate our decision-making. We don’t generally learn from mistakes; we think ‘next time it will be different’. Even when faced with overwhelming statistical and analytical evidence, we ignore it, imagining the odds that apply to other people do not apply to us. The National Lottery, with its ‘It could be you’ slogan, trades on this. But it’s not just the average Joseph or Mary on the street who takes irrational risks.

Consider those who gamble on horses.

Over the Christmas season we Irish will have gambled millions on horses. Interestingly, professional gamblers in Ireland display an amazing weakness for backing an Irish horse even when the form tells us a foreign horse has a better chance of winning.

This irrationality perplexed me a few months ago, so in order to explore and find out more about it, I visited one of the most interesting and dynamic workplaces in the country. It is one of the few companies in Ireland employing mathematic graduates (so the Maths students out there, listen up). It is not the R&D department of a large foreign, tech based multinational, nor is it the academic hotbed of one of our aspiring fourth level universities. It is the headquarters of Paddy Power — the bookie – in Clonskeagh.

The quantitative or “quants” department of the Paddy Power operation is a fascinating place. Up in “Power Towers” young mathematics boffins apply probability theory and statistical analysis to the huge amount of data gleaned from bookies to assess and price risk.

In order to get a handle on human behaviour and rationality, I asked the good people at Paddy Power for figures on Irish betting patterns, and the data confirmed what we all probably suspected: that we are deeply irrational. In Paddy Power’s shops on the main streets of most Irish towns and cities, the average Irish-trained runner in a race in the UK takes 21 per cent more of the book than an equivalent UK-trained runner. The figures from Paddy Power’s online, phones and mobile business — by far the fastest-growing side of the business — are even more remarkable: the average Irish-trained runner, competing in a race in the UK, takes 24 per cent more of the book than an equivalent UK-trained runner.

If the guys who read the form and calculate the odds are so irrationally driven by emotion, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Our irrationality has profound implications for the way the economy works. It also might shed a bit of light on the next moves in the Irish economy.

When the economy is thriving, we believe that things will continue to go well and we get overly exuberant. When things are going badly we become overly pessimistic, overly self-doubting, and gripped by depression, angst and insecurity.

In the real world it is those who behave irrationally, not rationally, that actually make money. In recent years investors who made money are those who sell when everyone else is buying and buy when everyone else is selling. They are the exceptions; the norm is the rest of us. So the exceptional ones behave in the way economists like to think the rest of us do, and the rest of us behave the way economists think is the exception.

This dilemma at the heart of modern economics was well summed up by J. P. Morgan — the American banking titan of the early twentieth century and a man who had seen a number of booms come and go — who understood this irrationality and caught the essence of the madness of a boom when he noted that ‘Nothing so undermines your financial judgement as the sight of your neighbour getting rich.’

All this implies that much economics as it is taught at present in the Leaving Cert and in our universities has little or nothing to do with human behaviour as we know it. This is a big challenge for economics because many economists purport to have some insight into the complex field of human behaviour and this insight gives them the confidence to predict the future.

So the next time you read forecasters announce confidently that such and such a series of events will come to pass in the next year or two, be warned they are basing this on rationality, when we know that we human are beautifully and gloriously irrational.

Happy New Year.

David McWilliams’ new book The Good Room is out now.


  1. SMOKEY

    David, and all on this fantastic blog, I had to look at the Independent head line shouting at me about recovery just yesterday.
    Peoples pent up spending it said.
    Folks in reality are so depressed with the past years bullshit they splurged a little bit over Christmas to lift their spirits.
    Now I will, “without the slightest hint of doubt” tell you what is going to happen.
    Retail figures will fall back to the uninspiring figures they were just before the Christmas period, in fact many will be worse than before.
    Less disposable income, higher motoring costs, higher insurance costs, higher home heating costs, and by the way if you need help with your home heating costs I can dramatically reduce them for you while maintaining or increasing internal space heating comfort, higher food bills, higher taxes,etc etc
    But the sleepy finance minister who mumbles his way through each gas filled retort to the “meeja” is telling us yet again!!!!we are turning the corner with these retail and house price figures. Ha haa haa ha ha ha ha ha, oh man if it werent so pathetic it would be funny.
    2.5% on a 500,000 euro purchase can swing to minus 2.5% in a heartbeat. I also predict a decline in Dublin house prices again as the arrears start coming to the fore.
    so SAME SHIT DIFFERENT DAY, or year as the case may be.
    Will be making some oak smoked pork shoulder and pan seared scallops in garlic sauce and my killer bleu cheese dressing with kick ass chicken wings to be washed down with sparkling wine to celebrate the latest corner being turned with my family tonite, hope ya’ll do the same.
    Happy New Year
    p.s. if any of you are interested, Seth Godin has a fantastic blog too and should be a daily read for those of you who are creating a way out of this mess.

  2. Dorothy Jones

    Thank You David for all the articles/gigs/punkeconomics/album choices and crackin’ tunes :) over the year 2012….and also for letting us comment on the blog, even if we go doolally on occasion….

    Please keep up the good work; and all the very best wishes for 2013.

    Oh…and on irrationality of the Irish…well d’you remember the Rubberbandits ‘F*** your Honda Civic; there’s a horse outside’? Well here’s same horse outside Tesco at Clare Hall…no really!!:

    http://www.worldirish.com/story/1293-did-you-leave-your-horse-outside-tesco

    Happy New Year :)

    Dorothy

    • Tony Brogan

      Love the parking job in Malahide

      Love the Nag
      Thinking of a similar mode of transit for myself
      cost 1000
      annual fuel 500
      maintenace 1000
      No insurance or road tax.
      Green machine. Absolute max in recycling
      no annual road test.
      Pleasant company.

      Back to the future, I say.

      Happy New Year Dorothy

  3. paddythepig

    David, the same applies in football. Ever notice when a sub is coming on, you often see some guy with a clipboard trying to coach the player about tactics. The player usually nods away pretending to listen, and then goes and plays his own way regardless. Clipboard guy is the equivalent of your economic forecaster, trying to apply theory in a situation where the human nature of the player will outweigh anything he says. Clipboard guy will carry on clip boarding as long as the club pay him. If the team lose game after game, clipboard guy will say the players didn’t follow his instructions.

  4. Norman Speight

    Ah! The certainty of the ill-informed, The assurance of the ignorant.
    The strange thing to me is the willingness of those in charge to pay huge amounts to such people. I have long maintained that at the heart of all failure is the failure of management, a species whose enlargement has exactly coincided with the downturns. I also recall chastising one failure in terms of you sought the job on the basis that you had the answers, now that it appears you do not, why are you asking the rest of us to ‘sacrifice’ Said person appeared not to be able to answer this one.

  5. Edward Smyth

    Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, a highly esteemed economist, and an old drunk were walking down the street together when they simultaneously spotted a €100 note. Who got it?

    The old drunk, of course… The other three are mythical creatures:-))

    Happy & prosperous New Year David.

  6. David, many thanks too for allowing me ‘to continue’contributing to your wonderful blogg .Its been great fun reading everyones ideas and having an opportunity to challenge theirs …..even in their doolally moments .

    Enjoy The Journey in 2013

  7. Adam Byrne

    Boldog Uj Evet Kivanok Mindenkinek.

  8. Pat Flannery

    Well done on this one David. Perhaps you and I are finally starting to get on the same page. I have only been reading you for a few months and am not aware whether this is a change of heart or I had misjudged you.

    When your book “The Good Room” came out I drafted a comment but never posted it as I judged it might have sounded a little snarky as unfortunately I can be sometimes. Actually it was meant to be constructive and I can now at least share the thought without fear of sounding snarky.

    I had suggested that you write a book about economics called “The Chinese Room”. If you are familiar with the parable it goes something like this: ancient people would write questions using Chinese symbols and slip them through a small aperture into a mysterious sealed room. The answer that came back was as revered as any from our own western equivalent, Pythia the priestess of Apollo also known as the Oracle at Delphi. In both cases the element of mystery was the key.

    It was later discovered that the people inside the Chinese Room did not even speak Chinese or at least only one minor Chinese dialect. They simply cross referenced each symbol mechanically sifting through mountains of accumulated data on related prior events and thus “predicted” the future.

    I had suggested in my suppressed comment to you that the practice of modern economics is rather like that and is equally as unreliable and equally as lucrative. Perhaps David through your long and prolific writing career you have finally achieved the luxury of writing what you think rather than what your paymasters wish you to think even though that thinking reflects a journey of discovery rather than the obfuscated mutterings of a paid “Chinese Room” technocrat.

    Happy New Year.

  9. franta

    I suppose it is possible to agree with this article but I feel that it isn’t the whole picture. Economists are ignoring many more parameters for example social, technological and other developments and also the abilities and intelligence of people on both side. In my opinion the badly educated, not experienced and not so intelligent( without any bad meaning) people should be protected and not exploited. On the other hand well established,well educated and famous expert not necessarily must be intelligent and quite often doesn’t really understand the problem (in fact is not even able) and is hardly able to find its solution.
    It strucked me quite recently the lack of constructive criticism and discussion not only in Ireland. The education plays very important role in this when childrens are tought to present and sell the idea rather than to discuss it and by doing this to improve it first.
    I wish Ireland that all talented people including those mathematicians mentioned by David are working on improving life of other people rather than on better ways how to cheat or exploit them. Happy new year to all of you.

  10. Realist

    Happy New Year 2013 to David, all posters and all (free) people.

    Once talking about rational and irrational, you should first define the terms before starting using them.
    Terms irrational should not be really used in economy so I need to criticise you in that manner.

    One cannot term an action as irrational without imposing an external and arbitrary standard of value.
    Researchers view human beings as rational only if they obey certain axioms or models of the researchers.
    This implies that researchers almost surely will uncover irrationality because human behavior rarely coincides with a model.
    All of this just helps the case for state intervention to remedy irrationality!!!!!

    Anything we are able to master completely by reasoning is no longer irrational.
    If they are so smart talking about irattionality, that means they can reason out what it is and teach it in schools, is not it.
    So, why not teach it in the school and rather save us from paying taxes to save us from irattionality?

    There is no logical foundation to the case for human irrationality.
    All they do is argue that certain postulates that they favor are not obeyed by all human beings at all times in practice.
    For example, if I go and buy a bread and pay 5 euro, and I used all available knowledge to me at that time, I obviously valued that bread more than 5 euro.
    The same is when I go and bet for a horse, I want to attain my goal of winning e1M for a small amount of money.
    This does not mean I was irrational at all!!!!!
    If human action always aims at a purpose, which by definition it does, then human action must be rational, that is, consistent with reason or guided by one’s will and intellect.
    It can never be termed irrational!!!!!!

    Austrian economists predicted this latest crisis:
    http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_predictions/Housing_bubble
    It is based on understanding how economy works and this is why they created ABCT to explain all financial crisises:
    http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_Business_Cycle_Theory

    I am sure you can grasp my point here as I am sure you are thinking of yourself as rational, otherwise you will not be writing all these articles.

  11. Stephen

    It is a tad cheap to attack forecasting as being without value because so many got the current collapse wrong. The reason it was an economic collapse was because so many were on the other side of the market when the sentiment shifted. Therein in lies the paradox. Yes human beings can behave irrationally but in groups we consistently show patterns of highly evolved deductive reasoning too. The recent economic collapse was for this generation and a number of previous ones without any reference. We were victimised by cheap / free money which had very predictable consequences. I don’t particularly blame the banks, the economic forecaster or the even the politicians. The result was always going to be the same. People will always choose the easy option, even if they can not explain exactly why – it is on our DNA. It has happened before and it will happen again. And why do we think irrationality is wrong, what if it is the product of a highly non linear risk reward analysis.

    And my forecast, for a laugh, is that the recent collapse has considerable benefits too which will become apparent over time and should last a for a few generations. In the near term though I think the worst is yet to come though and if we can escape without extreme political options gaining a foothold we will be lucky indeed.

    Ireland is .01% of the worlds stock market, we are very inconsequential in the grand scheme, our future will be based on our ability to be fast on our feet and exploit arbitrage opportunities in tax, regulation and industry ruthlessly. This can be a great place to be. Any surrender of our sovereignty in matters fiscal would be tactical suicide.

    • paddythepig

      An economic collapse without reference? The Wall Street crash of 1929 was on the inter cert history course, as was the Great Depression. We had the dot com bubble bursting in 2001. We had the stock market crash 50 per cent in 1974. We had a housing bubble crash in the early 90s in the UK. We had the Japanese bubble burst in the early 90s followed by two decades of deflation. We had the savings and loans crisis in the US. Anyone who switched on the news would have seen bubble after bubble after bubble.

      • Stephen

        Let me apologies. You are quite correct there have been many economic collapses and bubbles throughout history. What I was trying to elude too was the unique nature of our collapse. It was thrust upon us in the form of free money that was priced at central European interest rates not Irish rates, furthermore we had no means by which too curb the credit expansion nor the political forsight to even debate it. I contend that our economy was overheated primarily by policies foreign and in away that was without reference.

        It is important to note that interest rates are a function of the cost of money at which local banks can borrow at, the repayment risk of borrowers, and the competitive market for pricing loans. In each case the advent of the Euro undermined the Irish market rare mechanisms replaced it with a European rate system that watered down the local risks. I hope this clarifies my point.

        • paddythepig

          Latvia and Iceland, neither of whom were in the euro, and both of whom could print their own currency and set their own interest rates underwent massive credit expansion; the uk is another albeit diluted case in point. And we had countries within the euro, who could not print their own money, which did not have massive private credit expansion.

          I contend that neither the interest rate nor the currency is the key thing; rather it is degree to which the banking system is supervised (or not) as was the case with Iceland and ourselves, and in our case surmounted on top of that that the aggregate appetite for risk and folly within the general population. The cherry on the cake then is if government spending attempts to live off the proceeds of the bubble, believing it will last forever, and we also fell into that trap.

          Nothing was thrust upon us. People like David warned time and time again what was going on, but too many Irish people never bothered to listen.

    • Colin

      Stephen, put the crack pipe down there for a second, will you?

      ‘Yes human beings can behave irrationally but in groups we consistently show patterns of highly evolved deductive reasoning too.’ – Yes, these groups are called mobs and they have been proved over the years to be very dangerous, for example; ‘Crucify Him, Crucify Him’.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd_psychology

      • Stephen

        I agree that mobs can exist and carry out the most awful acts. Tribalism is at the heart of human organisation. My point was that more times then not we make good group decisions. Obviously a level of education, thought leadership, journalistic oversight, functioning political structures will all help this process. … Aswell as a crack pipe!

      • Tony Brogan

        And the week before was “hozanna in the highest”. Same crowd, no paid agitators in week one!!

  12. Adelaide

    “Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists”- John Kenneth Gailbraith.

    A big thanks to David for this wonderful platform, consistently great articles and great commentary discussion, an oasis of clarity. Look forward to your analysis of game-changer 2013. Happy New Year.

    • Realist

      Including Gailbraith himself !!!!

      He is one of the economists who did a lot of harm spreading nonsense. Very clever man indeed.
      Even that he was writing mostly nonsense does not mean people who bought and read his books did it irrationally.

  13. The Rationality of Being Irrational

    I liked this article because it shows the limits on a man made science namely Economics . I believe its function in the future will only be based on ‘fact finding’ to decipher the change in human behavior .

    It demonstrates the frustration what cannot be delivered when the need is there namely ‘Prediction’.

    It is time for this science to move on to a new level and make life more interesting and more understanding and pragmatic.

    Lets look at what I mean .

    Today is a sunny day and the sky is blue. I know I can take my walk without fear of rain .Why do I know this ? Because I looked up into the sky and saw no clouds.So far so good your readers will say .

    So how do the clouds arrive ? The wind and air movements I guess .What determines those movements ? At this stage I need to see bejond the clouds and go to the stratoshere and then bejond . This is what was done in an olden time and even medical doctors took heed of them too .Alas , no more.

    Why at night do people not look into the heavens ? Because the street lights blind them in doing so .
    So does the pounding of useless information and lifes ways . This leads people to constrain themselves like fish in a fish bowl and never wanting to swim in the sea or the ocean for that matter .How useless education can be in that situation and explains why nepotism will continue to flourish .

    So where does the Real Irationality begin to be understood?

    Like a clock with hands every degree is a measurement of the passing time and currently that clock is Aquarius .Based on collections of priceless data the picture of this journey can be put down on paper in more words than your complete blogg already holds . The product is ‘A Picture ‘. …and sometimes in three variants . Using this picture ‘the science of interpretation commences ‘. This leads to ‘Prediction’.

    I call this ‘Astro-Economics’.It is amazing and nothing of this kind has ever been done before in this context .

    My problem is making the time to draw 12 pictures with their variants with all the information I possess .

    It is definately a new science worth pursuing and seeking answers .

  14. Deco

    If only we discussed our irrationality before we all went on a binge of borrowing and splurging about 15 years ago.

    Of course, low interest rates facilitate binging.

    It seems that Irish betting customers are bigger losers than British betting customers.

    Business knows how to make us irrational.

    It is up to each of us, to make sure that we are free from such button pressing.

    • I suppose at the end of the day Deco, the whole western world was duped by the banking system, it’s just that we were suckered more than most and still are. That , I know , does not excuse us as a nation. It just proves we’re not a very wise or mature nation.
      Twenty thousand million extorted from the Irish State to pay faceless bondholders last year and about the same next year if interest is taken into account.
      Still, we’ve turned that many corners now, we’ve gone all round the houses.
      Happy New Year to you and yours.

  15. Crass123

    Ah Freud, how ahead of your time you were! Any economic equation will determine some sort of predictable human behaviour but that does not mean human behaviour is understood. We choose to see what we want to see and use the paradigms that are convenient to service our desires but this is not the truth.

  16. joflynn

    Thanks for that quote from JP Morgan: it bolsters my assertion that we calibrate our bahaviour relative to a smallish group of peers we deem significant: in evolutionary time that was perhaps a hierarchicy within a tribal group of a few extended families living in significant isolation; perhaps 80 people or less. We cannot really relate significantly at any one time to more than 15 or 20 individuals within even that group. In modern society the significant group we relate to will gradually change over a lifetime and may become geographically dispersed, so a trader in London may have a significant relationship with a trade in NY and calibrate his behaviour and bonus against that. And, as with apes and dogs, etc, we are primarily motivated to incrementally improve our status within this group of significant others.
    At a deep level we are not irrational; emotions sum up our response to all the forces acting on us- emotional DNA contains the wisdom of ages of individual responses that have ultimately led to behaviour that has been successful for the species, notwithstanding deletorious effects on whole groups, tribes, societies, even civilisations!
    And as for onventional economics- as I understand it- it doesn’t even recognise the role of money as an independent player in the mix – but that’s as it should be – economist Michael Hudson and cultural philosopher Pierre Bourdieu say- in their respective spheres – that the control of what is not said is as important as what is said – that is the real power. No, the system isn’t broken – its doing just what those who have most say over it want it to do…

  17. John Q. Public

    Free will, it’s a bitch! I’ll bet on one thing for the future: we haven’t learned a thing and will continue to make the same mistakes! Societies never learn.

  18. Mick Regan

    I keep expecting to turn the 6.1 news on and hear our finance minister…

    “In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”

    :)

    Happy new year David, and keep those thoughts flowing.

  19. goinghome

    “In the real world it is those who behave irrationally, not rationally, that actually make money. In recent years investors who made money are those who sell when everyone else is buying and buy when everyone else is selling. They are the exceptions; the norm is the rest of us. So the exceptional ones behave in the way economists like to think the rest of us do, and the rest of us behave the way economists think is the exception.”

    This is such an important observation, not only for economic activity but for other areas where research and statistics guide systems implementation.

    Daniel Kahneman did win a Nobel prize in 2002 for beginning to challenge the ideal of the rational man – http://www.ted.com/speakers/daniel_kahneman.html

    Happy New Year, everyone!

    • Realist

      There is no place for such nonsense in economy.

      It is retardation rather than an advancement of the economics discipline. Rather than elevating the essence of human beings he tried to show in the research that human actions and reason have very little in common.

      By casting doubt on peoples capacity for exercising their brains they may have unintentionally laid the foundations for the introduction of government controls to “protect” individuals from their own irrational behaviour.

      His Nobel costar Smith has established an experimental laboratory as a tool for validating economic theories.
      While a laboratory is a valid way of doing things in the natural sciences, it is not so in economics. If anything, the introduction of a laboratory in economics only stifles our understanding.

      In short, we know that actions are conscious and purposeful (driving a car, walk the street, dine, ..). Also, note that this knowledge that human action is conscious and purposeful is certain and not tentative.

      Any one who tries to object to this in fact contradicts himself for he is engaged in a purposeful and conscious action to argue that human actions are not conscious and purposeful !!!!!

  20. redriversix

    Good Morning David & a very happy,peaceful new year to you & all on this wonderful site.

    I enjoy my time here very much,reading,learning,arguing,laughing and sometimes even getting really freaking angry..!! [ working on it,one day at a time!]

    I have enjoyed meeting some of the fine people who walk the “corridors” of this site.

    2012 was a great year for my family & I..We know today what is important and sure as hell isn’t money.

    I realized how important a positive attitude is while dealing with hardship & crisis and the importance of living one day at a time…its not easy..takes a lot of practice but we got their…….one day at a time.

    If my ego asks me to suggest something for people to do for 2013….it would be to scrap Fear,anxiety,stress , throw these things in the wheelie bin , they are of no benefit to man or beast…Do the best you can , if its not good enough,thats okay,don’t worry about it..

    Today is the start of the rest of your life..Congratulations..!!! Let go of the past…let go of resentments , memories of arguments etc ….It is hard enough to carry ourselves around on a daily basis without having to carry the debris & wreckage of the past…LET IT GO….along with ” what if” and projecting what may or may not happen to you..!

    Some of us spent a lot of time worrying about tomorrow , next week or next month..! we haven’t got through today and we are worrying about next week..!!

    Scrap the crap,do the best you can..live in today & face up to today……be good to yourself…look after yourself………impossible to look after others if you cant look after yourself

    After all……….we are only Human , irrational as the species may be…every day is a good day,just some days are better than others…..!

    “i thought life was tough because I had no shoes…..then I met a man who had no feet”

    Happy New Year..stick with the winners..!

    RR6
    Barry Callaghan

  21. John Moriarty

    the irrationality of economics has boundaries. things like food and resource shortages in a depleted ecosphere do not get solved by irrationality; it’s at best only a partial theory, just like rationality.

  22. dwalsh

    Happy new year David and thank you for your articles and this blog.

    Happy new year also to my fellow posters.

    Good article. For a change I find myself in agreement with you. I hope you will persist in your analysis of the failure of modern economics. There are many here who will agree in principle if not in detail.

    Modern economics has developed as an ideology; not as a science. As you point out, it is based on unproven assumptions or axioms; and it theorises from those flawed premises to various macro theories about the economic activity of human beings and human society. No wonder it fails so spectacularly.

    The assumption that humans are rational agents is just one of those axioms. Another false assumption is that humans are atomic self-maximisers. This axiom completely ignores the fact that humans in the real world are social creatures; embedded in complex relational social networks. This axiom of radical individualism inverts the truth; which is that our individuality is a function of our sociality. You cannot even be a human individual without society.

    In my opinion this state of affairs is not accidental. Modern economic theory is heavily promoted by the financial and corporate elites because it suits and serves their interests; which are profit and power. Economics has degenerated into a service industry for oligarchs. Economists, with some noble exceptions, are merely economic technicians in service to profit.

    Economics has abandoned humanity and truth.

    • Adam Byrne

      Nice one dwalsh.

      Here’s a decent, short article from the Harvard Business Review along the same lines:

      http://hbr.org/2012/12/saving-economics-from-the-economists/ar/1

      • Tony Brogan

        Makes good sense to me.
        Austrians are much closer to the suggested remedy. They are the most relevant sub discipline relating to the actual economy that exists today.

        • dwalsh

          Austrian economics is the modern source of the dysfunction. It is inherently a prioristic; ie it argues from assumed axioms. Von Mises insisted economics is not an empirical science.

      • Realist

        Exactly.
        This is what companies and all individuals are, entrepreneurs. We are rational and not irrational beings.

        As Tony said Austrian economy has entrepreneur as a centre piece of action in both micro and macro economy.
        Human action is where the whole phylosophy starts for them.

        • dwalsh

          The assumptions of Austrian ideology are simply false. Austrian economics has more the character of a religion than a science.

      • dwalsh

        Thanks for that link Adam. And happy new year :)

    • Realist

      Wrong. Read my comments above.

      While finance at this moment in time is broken, it is not because of irrationality argument.
      If you do not understand what the problem is you cannot blame people for it.
      This is exactly the point why government is there, to protect us from our stupid irrationality.

      If you or David somehow understand this irrationality, how come? does that not preclude you rationally came to that conclusion?
      Is that not exactly what human action is? Rational decision to foretake the next step.

      Austrian economy is the one who uses axioms of human action and not today’s modern economy !!!!

      • dwalsh

        The assumptions of Austrian ideology are simply false. Austrian economics has more the character of a religion than a science. Von Mises was a Kantian; another rationalist.

  23. gizzy

    Ou fear of change is our main driver. It is poweful when combined with groupthink. The majority of economists will get caught up in it and predict incremental change never crashes etc but soft landings. Also whoever pays for the advice normally the incumbent government will pay for forecasts that support their policies. He who pays the piper.

    Happy New Year All

  24. Ben Dyson from Positive Money in the UK was on BBC Radio 4 recently discussing how irrational people are relative to what economists assume they are.

    Ben went a step further though and talked about how economists really spend such little time studying how money is created and even less time discovering how it is destroyed.

    You can listen to him here;
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ngmjr (15minutes long)

    • Realist

      He might be living in the cave not mentioning Austrian aconomy who talked about money and money creation for 100 years now.

      He wrongly assuming people are irrational using the example of us buying donuts in the supermarket and forgetting to buy something we came for.
      This is an absurd as we picked donuts rationally and we rationally said I am fine giving 3 euro for them.

      You cannot rationally said people are irrational without involving in rational thinking about irrational people !!!!!
      Human action is rational, regardless did you have the opportunity to put money to other causes later on, as at the time of transactions you did not have all information available.

      Absurd, and this guy is smart but young and ignorant to not go deep into the subject of human action and read something from Austrian economists.

    • Tony Brogan

      In this snippit Ben Dyson agrees that people are irrational and discusses the formation of money. Money is Created as a loan and issued into debt ,thus surrounding us all with debt was observed but he never proposed a remedy of how to change the system or who benefits from the current system.

      So here is the solution.
      Ban and close the central bank. The source of the issuance of the original debt based money.
      ban fractional reserve banking that allows charted commercial banks to create new money out of thin air and charge interest thereon.
      Have money issued by treasury at no cost and once a reasonable amount is in circulation then maintenance of the amount of money in circulation will be static.
      Issue into ciculation silver money and silver backed currency in parallel to the treasury notes to keep them honest. Remove the manditory part that force people to accept the government in payment of private debt and let people use whatever they want as money.

      There is six tonnes of Irish gold in London to be repatriated and used to back Irish currency.

    • joe hack

      I like.
      A bit like the emperor new cloths

  25. redriversix

    http://youtu.be/uUk8O6NOJqQ

    Review,reflect..Share ?

    Barry

    • Tony Brogan

      Very powerful
      Thanks RR6

    • Realist

      The size of a country’s problems is directly proportional to the size of its government.

      Economy (and many other things) cannot be grasped centrally, by our beloved government, while (economic) knowledge is inside all people’s brains and it changes constantly !!!!

  26. I’m going back to Old Moores Almanac. And Rune Stones.

    The only accurate prediction I can see coming through for next year is that the vested interests in general will become even more right wing fundamentalist to protect their dwindling interests. Croke Park will become a battleground once the private sector is finally bled dry though this won’t really manifest itself until 2014.
    David mentions the bright young things working for Paddy Power.
    Good economics (and thereby economic policy) is intrinsically linked to genetics. Since we’re exporting 200 or so of our people every single day, don’t expect any earthshattering exhibition of Irish sovereign brilliance any time soon.
    A sure sign of Bad economics is how audible it is. The sound of backslapping can be deafening. And the muted collective grunting in tribal agreement of the herd mentality is reminiscent of a Rwandan silverback.

    Resolution;
    I am definitely going to Kilkenomics next year, if only to get our host and young Gurdgiev pasted. They deserve a good scoop or two.

    Hope ye all have a Happy and (more) Prosperous 2013.

  27. DB4545

    David thanks for organising a fantastic blog. It’s a privilege to get ideas and an education from every person who has taken the time and energy to contribute.Thank you all.I’m not a Quaker but I admire their ideals and the concept of “that of God”(which I translate as decency)is in everyone.Each to their own. This site acts as a meeting house for ideas without a “middleman” of written scripture or a cleric getting in the way. The medium of the internet is slowly removing the middleman in commerce,economics,politics and religion. I watched two TEDtalks contributors this year who I thought may shed some light on where we might be heading. Sir Ken Robinson “Do schools kill creativity” and Clifford Stoll “The call to learn”. Clifford Stoll ends his talk by saying “May science and religion endeavour here for the steady evolution of mankind from darkness to light.Again each to their own! I hope everyone gets the chance to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the new year.
    Kind Regards..DB

    • wildata

      I would give you the atheist’s prayer,
      That I would do good, without the need for Heaven or Hell.

      • DB4545

        And I’m sure you will wildata. But don’t give us the partial prayer, Give us the full monty. Our brains which are in our heads, treasured be thy name.Thy reasoning come. The best you can do be done on earth as it is.Give us this day new insight to resolve conflicts and ease pain. And lead us not into supernatural explanations,deliver us from denial of logic.For thine is the kingdom of reason, and even though thy powers are limited,and you’re not always glorious,you are the best evolutionary adaption we have for helping this earth now and forever and ever. And deliver us from the priesthood of atheists and the sacredness of logic alone.So be it. Like I said wildata each to their own..Kind regards and happy new year.

  28. CorkPlasticPaddy

    Hi David. Happy New Year to you and yours and to all contributors to this blog.

    Sorry for having to put a ‘damper’ on things, but for the first 6 months of 2013 the shower of idiots we have for a government will be running around like headless chickens with Ireland having the presidency. Our lot will be tugging the forelock and bowing and scraping to all and sundry in the EU that nothing will be done, so, you can forget about anything in the line of any ‘positives’ for those 6 months and I think you can forget about anything happening for the remaining 6 months either, because they’ll spend that 6 months talking about how good things turned out. What a complete and utter shower of wankers!!!

    • Adam Byrne

      Useless they are and always will be. The current shower will NEVER do anything productive, they are incapable of it.

  29. molly

    These irrational, illogical and beautifully human urges dominate our decision-making. We don’t generally learn from mistakes; we think ‘next time it will be different’. Even when faced with overwhelming statistical and analytical evidence, we ignore it, imagining the odds that apply to other people do not apply to us.
    Now put this into context with the main players who in some way caused Ireland to go belly up most of these are still being rewarded of have not suffered or have fled the country,to start a new life .
    The lucky Irish are the ones who bought into the Irish dream and bought a (home) and lost there jobs but where ready willing and able to emigrate.
    There’s simply no pain for the people who caused Ireland to belly up the have and are being well looked after.
    For The top earners in Ireland it’s like they never left there protective bubble.

  30. Grey Fox

    Best Wishes for 2013 to you David, thanks for the forum!
    Happy New Year to all the contributor’s, it’s been a pleasure!

    • gizzy

      Sent in my forma and cheque three weeks ago. Got a phone call about whistle blowing but still no reply letter or e mail re membership of DDI. That’s a bit sloppy.

  31. elamanamou

    HERES A FORCAST FOR THE FUTURE DAVE,SUPERCYCLE TOP MAY 1999 REF(DJIA}+2007 {NB CORRECTION TOP}=8YRS,NOW END OF DEFLATION DEPRESSION CORRECTION 1978 FOR CORRECTION =29YRS OF BEAR MARKET,GIVE OR TAKE A YEAR OR TWO,AND BY THE WAY U CAN CALCUTATED HUMAN BEHAVIOR/SOCIAL MOOD ALWAYS REMEMBER PATTERN OVER PRICE AND NEVER FOLLOW THE HERD,HAPPY NEW YEAR TO WHO EVER READING THIS AND GOOD LUCK FOR THE FUTURE,EXCITING TIMES INDEED AHEAD

  32. Clare Leonard

    PADDY POWER ODDS
    MOST SEATS IN THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION.

    FG 8/11
    FF 6/4
    Sinn Fein 8/1
    Labour 20/1
    Direct Democracy Ireland 50/1
    Greens 500/1
    Direct Democracy Ireland coming up on the inside,
    with little or no coverage by Irish Main street media.
    I wonder why??
    Watch out they are only 6 weeks old,
    Give power back to yourself.
    Happy New Year to one and all.

    • chrissu

      Can’t disagree with those odds. Question is will FG and Labour go back into power or will Labour say enough. My opinion is they will with the old guard retiring. Therefore will FG go into bed with SF, can’t see it, or with FF? If the government can get over the abortion issue they’ll probably last the full term, and the above odds will change. Finally a debt deal will have to be done at some point as it is simply unsustainable, when this occurs I have no idea, but the sooner the better. Happy new year folks

  33. wildata

    Happy New Year David.
    Yup, its all about getting some of the pile.
    At some point you realize it, but are never told it especially when you are young.
    If you were you would behave rather differnetly, and there would eventualy be no pile to get a bit of !
    For growth our Economic Systems need a growing and gullible population, how else in a finite world in terms of resources do we kid ourselves about neverending growth. The whole concept, and its silent collolary, (the notion of pieces of paper earning interest)is inherently flawed, by the very decent idea of equality and fairness.
    The “optimum use of scarce resources” is not necessarily anything to do the the “fair use of scarce resources” !
    As David point out Human Nature tends to blur the vision, that is how we have a Society where individually we suscribe and in many cases follow decent aspirations.
    The rub is even the best Journalist/Economist looks at his pay packet now and again.
    Bullshit pays… PEROID.

  34. cooldude

    Very interesting article David. There actually is a branch of economics which views the economy from the perspective of millions of individuals interacting in the market place. This branch correctly predicted the crash of 2007, which is really just a continuation of the crash of 2000, and is quite clear that none of the underlying causes of these asset bubbles are being addressed and the situation is going to get worse and will inevitably lead to a currency crisis and the destruction of our current system of floating unbacked currencies. For anyone interested in looking into this branch of economics, which has been proven correct, here is a good place to start
    http://mises.org/

    I would like to wish everyone on the blog, including Bonbon, a very happy New Year. By the way I backed Tidal Bay (english horse) to win the Lexus chase at Lepordstown, as did many of my punter pals, so some of us are punting with the brain and not the heart.

    • Realist

      Nicely said cooldude and Happy New 2013 to you too.

      As stated above irrationality is not part of economy and Austrians explained that clearly :)

      As you said Austrian economists predicted this latest crisis:
      http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_predictions/Housing_bubble
      It is based on understanding how economy works and this is why they created ABCT to explain all financial crisises:
      http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Austrian_Business_Cycle_Theory

      Who is to say that parting with a few euro for possibly gain of millions of it is wrong?
      Is that not Black Swan event we are all hoping for?
      While government can spend trillions going to Mars to protect us from Earth destruction calling it rational decision, why people’s own decision to bet is irrational ?

  35. Colin

    David,

    Hope you had a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2013. Keep up the great work.

    Am I the only person who finds it strange that a country that is supposedly on it knees, lurching from cutback to crisis and with many families supposedly living on cornflakes, and yet a sizable proportion of the population still have money to fritter away on the geegees? I’ve left Ireland, and have money in my pocket, but I am not inclined at all to seek to ‘win’ more money and I am loathed to lose it as it is hard earned.

    The root of the problem again, unfortunately is the Irish psyche. It is childish and lacking in self-responsibility – blame everyone except yourself syndrome. I do sincerely hope it changes and does so quickly, otherwise there is no hope.

    • Tony Brogan

      When you call your national currency a punt what do you expect to Happen, Colin.

      Happy New Year

      • Adam Byrne

        Haha good point Tony. Nice to see you and Colin agreeing on something for once. It was a real ordeal for me to keep you two from blows down in Kilkenny recently but I put on the green jersey to do so. Believe that if you want, Happy New Year guys.

        • Tony Brogan

          Your memory is different from mine there Adam

          I had nary a bad word with colin. We spend a short time together and got along fine. I have a great deal of respect for our friend Colin. He is working hard doing a good job and has no respect for layabouts, Adam.
          Your comments above are totally wrong and inflamatory.I did not come any where near to blows but I do remember an asshole who drank too much and could not hold his tongue. You were not present at any meetings I had with Colin where we chatted.

        • Colin

          Adam,

          I’m flummoxed. Me and Tony never came near to having blows. You must have two other people mixed up with us. Tony is an gentleman, but he did have stories where his fists helped him out of trouble when he was younger through no fault of his own when the mob cornered him, so I salute him for that. Courage is the greatest attribute.

          Anyway, hope 2013 is good to both you and Tony. I’m on again for Kilkenomics later this year.

    • Adam Byrne

      You are dead right Colin. Babies the lot of them, as I said some time ago – the so-called ‘culture’ here is messed up. Pure entitlement delusion.

    • gizzy

      colin just because david writes a fairly loose article about economists , rationality and gamblers doesn’t mean you have to jump a generalistion about th psyche of the Irish . That is quite immature and irrational. I know lots of Irish who do not gamble nd lots of other races who do.

      • Adam Byrne

        That’s true gizzy ‘lots’ don’t – but – too many do. More than should – and to the detriment of society.

        Ridiculous what goes on here in ‘this kip’ – in the so-called age of ‘austerity’.

        If they really got a bit of true austerity, they wouldn’t know what had hit them. Spoiled assholes.

      • Colin

        gizzy, I don’t gamble except when a bookie wants to throw away money, my last bet was a win when I bet last season that City would beat United at Old Trafford (United were particularly weak around that time and City were in good form), so I bet only £20 and won about £60. So if they want to throw it away, I’ll take it and if that means betting against my beloved United, so be it, it made me feel better about the result afterwards (tip – keep emotion out of a bet).

        But look around you. Betting advertising has saturated the press, TV, Radio and internet. You can’t turn sideways without seeing betting being promoted. We are a nation of punters, it is mainstream – some exceptions, but that is the truth.

  36. Interesting and very enjoyable article David. Made me think on several levels

    Q. If the guys who read the form and calculate the odds are so irrationally driven by emotion, what hope is there for the rest of us?

    A. We are emotional beings who have developed amazing powers of reasoning. Fear is probably the greatest motivator there is next to love and we are always consumed by these two emotions. That’s my personal experience and I am open to being corrected as there are many posters here who could explain this better than I

    To want to give and receive love is rational. We are made for it and whether it makes logical sense or not we are prepared to gamble and strive for it. We don’t care if it is rational. We want it all the same

    Fear is equally powerful and we all know about fear. Fear can explain why we fuck up so much, or at least think we do. We live in a complex world and it is ok to fuck up once in a blue moon. As long as it doesn’t become a habit you understand. Time we gave ourselves a bit more love moving into the new year

    The senses relay information to the brain and then it sinks down into our emotional centre. The trick is to resist our first insticts and stand back. Take a breather and ask the question ‘am I being rational?’

    The movie Glengarry Glenross brilliantly explored the emotions of desire, excitement and fear. When gambling gets into that league the rush is something I could only imagine!

    I can understand it. It reminds me of politicians and when I think of Ireland and gambling (I know the Irish are mad for the horses) I think of Bertie. Ireland’s greatest gambler. That should be the guys epitaph because he was really just a little boy driven by his emotions. Sad stuff

    Playing poker for 10 cent maximum stake with pals at a house gathering is great fun but when you think of how accessible and potentially destructive gambling has become I am not sure if we should blindly bow in respect to the number crunchers at Paddy Power for all their academic prowess

    I remember guys paid at lunchtime in the shipyards heading home after work on a friday without a penny in their pocket. Men with families. The world is full of losers and the bookies can’t be blamed for making a fortune from their illness. It can be a vice worse than drugs and booze

    “economists purport to have some insight into the complex field of human behaviour”
    do they fuck. they are are all cold fish with no love and emotion in their hearts

    “So the next time you read forecasters announce confidently ….”
    I don’t. I don’t even listen to them. They talk more shite than the teachers in the schools

    ————————————————–

    And so the year comes to pass and it is the centenary of the FED and the 1913 lockout. Look forward to another year of war, global fear and mass murder. Looting and plunder is on the agenda and nothing has changed since Connolly’s time. Britannia is banging the drums of war and the lambeg drum hammers through the foggy dew. We have not forgotten the wankers.

    ——————————

    I wish David and you all a happy new year. You guys have kept me sane and I want you to know it. I don’t forget my friends.

    ——————————————-

    For my Irish cousins. MacPherson’s Rant
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_euUOCcLuw

  37. Tony Brogan

    Happy New Year to All

    “In the real world it is those who behave irrationally, not rationally, that actually make money.” In recent years investors who made money are those who sell when everyone else is buying and buy when everyone else is selling. They are the exceptions; the norm is the rest of us. So the exceptional ones behave in the way economists like to think the rest of us do, and the rest of us behave the way economists think is the exception.

    “The words inside the” are not rational! It is actually the rational who make the money and not the other way as stated? The irrational are the crowd who have no rationality, just emotion.

    That is why I have avoided crowds for most of my life!

    Best event in 2012. My trip and meeting people.
    I am happy to say it was a great pleasure to meet eight of the posters on this article alone (including David, the man himself). All fine caring thoughtful people. Now if only you were all as rational as me then……

    • JOHNNYD

      I read it that way too, unless what he means is people are being irrational compared to the already irrational who consider themselves normal due to their majority.
      Irrational people in a worldly logical context do not make money.

    • Realist

      :)
      All people are rational from their perspective.

      Who is to say that I should not bet, that I should not drink, that I should not buy gold, that I should not own the property?
      Or that I should not save, that I should not spend, that I should not vote?

      At the end regardless of everything all our actions are rational. Explaining problems in economics irrational only clears any governments and central bankers from their mostly sole responsibility for this fiasco.

      At the end we crowded to vote for them in our proper democratic way, so who am I to blame them :) ?

      Let’s leave psychology and other sciences to deal with irrationality.

    • Realist

      Happy New Year 2013 to you Tony,

      Always happy finding you writing on this blog.
      let’s our good economic dreams come through :)
      And I am sure they are not irrational.

    • Dorothy Jones

      Mr oh-so-Rational :) :) :) Happy New Year

    • Tony Brogan

      The thing to note about Rational is that most of it is Ration. That is, it is in limited supply, no????

  38. Tony Brogan

    See between 11-12 minute mark for comment on Anglo Irish debt bailout

    Talk about irrational….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRPCTrSDaqY

  39. joe sod

    “I visited one of the most interesting and dynamic workplaces in the country. It is one of the few companies in Ireland employing mathematic graduates (so the Maths students out there, listen up). It is not the R&D department of a large foreign, tech based multinational, nor is it the academic hotbed of one of our aspiring fourth level universities. It is the headquarters of Paddy Power — the bookie — in Clonskeagh.”

    so irish companies do not employ maths graduates, maybe if the banks had employed a few of them the country might be in better shape.
    As for selling when everyone is buying and buying when everyone is selling. This sounds simple but is in fact very difficult to implement. Because the buying and selling phases may last decades. For example the japanese stock market has been in a selling phase since 1990 with a few false dawns, so even if you had started buying in 2002, 12 years after the top you would still have to wait 10 years or more for the turnaround all the while watching your investment fall in value. Of course this is an extreme example. As for our own housing market the up phase lasted 10 years, it takes enormous resilience and patience to sit it out.

    • I thought the point of five years of austerity was to wean people away from gambling yet here we have one of the country’s most prominent ‘intellectuals’ espouse the nous of the gambling industry. I guess I am just a sad confused individual and not keeping up with the zeitgeist. I mean what happened to ‘moral hazard’?

      The Japanese were great gamblers but look where it got them. Now they are complacent, overweight and not fit for duty. Anyone could take them out. Hedonism and gambling has gotten the better of them

      As for our own housing market you can forget it. A piffle fraction of a percentage rise or decrease here or there means jack and will do for another 20 years

      The Irish are just another nation of losers.

      • joe sod

        i totally disagree as regards the japanese, i think there is a renaissance in japan now, of course it could be another false dawn but i dont think so, i think japan has fabulous companies, but i think the japanese mentality is more extreme than the american or european in that the japanese are more afraid to drift from the norm than the european or american, therefore the down phase has lasted twice as long as normal because the japanese themselves are a very cohesive society therefore individuals themselves in japan want to do what their friends and families are doing. Of course foreign investors could have turned the tide but because japan still the second largest economy in the world, the domestic selling pressure was still stronger than the foreign buying pressure which meant that upswings were cancelled out out by domestic selling pressure, but japan is one of the cheapest markets in the world, but has been for the last 10 years. This is why buying when others are selling sounds easy but in reality is incredibly difficult to implement. Humans are emotional which means the guy eventually is proved right but he made his call at the age of 35, he stook with it but his marriage has broke up, at 50 years of age he is eventually proved right, but he has still lost alot by sticking to his guns, this is the real reality of economics

  40. Even medicine has it’s periods of turbulence

    “Dr. P. Maxwell Foshay (1900), Editor of the Cleveland Journal of Medicine once said: “It will thus be seen that medical journalism is in a state of chaos…. The greed for advertising patronage leads the editor only too often to prostitute his pen or his pages to the advertiser, so long as he can secure the coveted revenue.”

    http://rense.com/general95/hillbldclt.html

    • Paul

      Are you watching the quiet come back of ‘Gers?

      D

    • Tony Brogan

      Good one Paul
      Aspertame is poison!!

      • It makes you think. Even the great and the good have an achilles heel Tony.

        • Tony Brogan

          The owners andpromoters and the users of the product know the side effects. I knew that people continued to put on weight substuting it for suger and that it was not good for diabetics.

          I conclude some are plane evil and care nothing for humanity. One can take bon bon’s next step and say it is deliberate genocide.

          Thee are too much of these poisons around that one does begin to wonder.

          Happy New Year Paul

          • Happy New Year Tony

            I don’t have a sweet tooth myself and try to avoid processed foods. My mother rubbished processed food in the 1970s and we had a vegetable plot for greens and potaoes. Now it sounds like we were ahead of our time

            Food manufacturers have been unscupulous for a very long time. I think David recently alluded to Irish immigrants in New York, circa 1870s, drinking milk that was diluted with something awful and downright dangerous to shave pennies off the price

            Tonight there was a McDonald’s ad during the film advertising burgers for a Euro. Yuk. I’d personally buy a kilo of steak mince from an Irish farm butcher and make them myself

            I don’t think it’s genocide. More like the irrationality of greed and human nature

  41. gizzy

    I am surprised people were impressed by this article, Ten minutes at breakfast I would say david.

    • redriversix

      Ouch ! Morning Gizzy…!

    • SMOKEY

      Maybe if you got off of your fat ass and created something yourself youd have the right to criticize D-Mac.
      Being a troll with only negative input seems to be your thing, try it somewhere else eh?
      Now, Happy New Year to you.

    • Realist

      I was not as you can see above :)

      David got it all wrong this time, and not just this time.
      He is going from fallacy to fallacy to explain economy.
      He is putting himself into the position where basically any professor from any economic school will give him a hard time with all these contradictory articles.
      Jumping from Keynesian to Behavioralist to Historician explanations of economy from article to article is not giving him any favour.

  42. redriversix

    http://youtu.be/4ECi6WJpbzE

    If Governments Bailed out Banks…who will bail out Governments ?

    Is The derivative Market the next bubble…?

    • Tony Brogan

      no it is the government bonds Mr RR6. All countries are bankrupt, the bonds will default. Oh I forgot a country can’t go bust, but it can print its way to oblivion. The nobody wants any more wall paper currency is when interest rates spike and bonds loose half theeir value and hyper inflation is suddenly let loose.
      not a pretty site or anything to wish for but coming down a track in your neighbourhood sometime soon.

      got gold, got silver. got land.

    • Tony Brogan

      no it is the government bonds Mr RR6. All countries are bankrupt, the bonds will default. Oh I forgot a country can’t go bust, but it can print its way to oblivion. The day nobody wants any more wall paper currency is when interest rates spike and bonds loose half their value and hyper inflation is suddenly let loose.
      not a pretty site or anything to wish for but coming down a track in your neighbourhood sometime soon.

      got gold, got silver. got land.

  43. Dorothy Jones

    New Year’s morning?….hooray!!!

    Time to embrace 2013 unburdened by the weight of the last 12 years. These years exist, in the way that a firehose reel at the top of a staircase exists, necessary but only to be called up when the situation demands it.

    Migrating..from the estuary here in North Dublin…to the Nordsee…again…time to move on…

    Now, on with the runners and on with life!

  44. george

    The world is full of well paid charlatans taking like parrots. So what you describe is becoming the norm rather than the exception. People who produce nothing of value for the rest of Society, but are very useful for to keep the Show going on, for Private Banks and the Elites.

    And while one of our main native industrialist is behind bars; politicians of very dubious abilities, regulators of all sorts, and bloodsucking bankers, are enjoying life, pay, and conditions. The Queen should not have addressed the question to us, but to the Centres of Knowledge that educate Spin Doctors in the art of deception.
    Happy New Year to all of you!

  45. molly

    What most people don’t seam to realise is the changes that have come and are comming will propell people in to a type of war a survival war.
    The more you look at who’s running the country and who was running the country and if there was a total change with SF and the indepents running the country we are fucked with any of the four said choices.
    So unless we the people go for a complete change of who we want to run this country we will limp along in a country with selective hardship.

  46. tony_murphy

    “Humans are possibly the most irrational of animals. We are driven by emotions, exuberances, impulses and frenzies. We fall in love, gamble and even support useless football teams.”

    Think I’m only part human if that’s the definition

    “When the Queen of England asked why none of these professionals warned of the credit crunch” – her brain washing program did a really good job.. So many still being fooled..

    I hope some day David you’ll follow the money properly – and this time all the way to the Globalists. Maybe it’ll happen in 2013. I won’t hold my breath though

    • Tony Brogan


      I hope some day David you’ll follow the money properly — and this time all the way to the Globalists. Maybe it’ll happen in 2013. I won’t hold my breath though”

      Ditto the above.

      When inspecting the B of E bank vaults the Queen may also have wondered how much was actually owned by the UK. Very little by all accounts.

      Maybe some of it was the 6 tonnes allegedly owned by Ireland

  47. Tony Brogan

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-29/ron-paul-fiscal-cliff-we-have-passed-point-no-return Ron Paul says the US is broke and it is too late to mend.

    go directly to 5.45 min

    • Realist

      Good one Tony.
      I hate politicians in general, even more than central bankers :)
      But Ron Paul is one of the most honest and forthright politician, at least one well known.

  48. Tony Brogan

    2013 Trends by Gerald Celente (you don’t need an economist when you have him!!)

    http://usawatchdog.com/2013-more-of-the-same-but-worse-gerald-celente/

  49. StephenKenny

    The monstrous arrogance of the economists is only matched by the genocidal tendencies of the politicians.

    The econimists complain that the world is irrational because their “theories” don’t work. A little cabal of mad people raving against the world, accusing everywhere else of being mad.

    A little cabal of politicians supporting “regime change” and drug money laundering by their appointed and regulated financial services sector, so having personal responsibility for millions of deatsh, torture, carnage, and mass destruction, while raving against the world, accusing everyone else of being a threat.

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