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With just 8 days to go to the US Presidential Election 

 

- one could be expected to be asking such a question - in view of the fact that just this

week alone headlines such as these have been splashed across the World's Newspapers -

 

 

- yet the sanity of reality - reigns supreme as ever - with the remarks made by

Jeff Randall in his Telegraph entitled - Armageddon ? it doesn't look like it to me -

 

Following the hubris of “no more boom and bust ” and nemesis of a credit-crunch, they seek catharsis in a claim that George Osborne’s austerity is unnecessarily harsh, economically illiterate; a rerun of Thatcherism, destined to end in catastrophe.

 

- which raises yet another example of the diverse interpretation of interpretation of

the words which are used to justify the self-serving arrogance and greed of those

that would propose to suggest that "we are ALL in this together" - and the desperate

need for ALL of us to disconnect the mechanism of interpretation.

  

 

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Comment by Michael Grove on January 12, 2013 at 11:53

New Year's Eve was the perfect time for a company to bury bad news.

In the end, it was a country that seized the opportunity. As the world celebrated the start of 2013, the US government revealed that it had reached its $16.4 trillion (£10 trillion) borrowing limit.

Disclosing the news with just hours of 2012 left was not the only devilry in the timing.

While the American public cheered in the new year, the country's press was busy tracking whether politicians in Washington would prevent the economy falling off the so called "fiscal cliff" - at the stroke of midnight.

Although they did not quite manage that, a deal was reached on New Year's Day that avoided the worst of the $600bn of tax increases and spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect.

Since the ceiling was reached 12 days ago, the US government has resorted to what it calls "extraordinary measures" to keep paying its bills without slapping any more on its credit card. This hotchpotch of measures includes the temporary suspension of interest payments owed to the Civil Service Retirement System.

An analysis by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington estimates these measures will be exhausted sometime during the last two weeks of February. If Congress has not agreed to raise the debt ceiling by then, the US government will have to decide which of its financial obligations to meet and which, well, not to.

The choices will be invidious and legally questionable. Will teachers' salaries be paid or America's national parks maintained? Will interest payments to the holders of US government bonds be put above funding for the FBI? Neglect any of the first three and there will be a public outcry.

Choose NOT to make coupon payments to the latter,

and the US government will default on its debt for the first time.

Comment by Michael Grove on January 27, 2013 at 12:18

WHAT IF Nassim Taleb's "Black Swans" were engineered by a group of men -

living together in society today - as a result of information asymmetry ?

" When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society - they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it "

                                                                                                                Frederik Bostiak

 

Comment by Michael Grove on February 11, 2013 at 9:23

Inadequate boards to blame for banking crisis - Telegraph Letters to the Head of Business

SIR - Thomas Pascoe (Telegraph Finance Blogs, February 4) writes that George Osbourne misses the point by saying that retail banks should be "ring-fenced" and argues that retail banks, not investment banks caused the financial crisis. 

Sadly they both miss the point. Almost all the banks have been very badly managed, not just over the past decade but for many decades. The management and the boards have not been up to the task. Northern Rock was "only a retail bank" but it grew too fast and was too complicated for its very weak board and executives. Lehman's was "only a (sort of) investment bank" but that was too complex for its board.

Any bank (or any business) needs to be no bigger or complex than its board and executives can manage. No chief executive, finance director, chairman or directors can have all the expertise to cover activities as different as lending and financial trading. That is why the so called universal banks must be broken up and why ring-fencing will NOT work

                                                                                              Tony Shearer W14 8LQ   

Osbourne has it all wrong

SIR - The three principal causes of the banking crisis were unwise mortgage lending by Northern Rock, an indulgent display of braggadocio by RBS in overpaying for a little-known Dutch bank just to show it could outbid Barclays, and the purchase by Lloyds of HBOS, without any proper due diligence of its loan book. Nothing whatsoever to do with investment banking. What does George Osbourne think he's doing?

                                                                                              David Langfield, Surrey

Presumably Mr. Osbourne continues in the same vain as every other Chancellor before him,

for the last several decades - in complete denial of the need for any understanding of the

consequences of consequences of complex systems.

Comment by Michael Grove on April 5, 2013 at 7:03

It has been almost five years since the crash, and still the guilty men are being tracked down and subjected to what seems like a never-ending trial for financial war crimes.

Today, it is the turn of the trio accused of sinking HBOS: Sir James Crosby, Lord Stevenson and Andy Hornby. They are up on charges of vanity, arrogance, recklessness – and enough of it to destroy a bank.

Today’s report from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards is not so much a

post-mortem examination as an 88-page j’accuse, one which concludes that all three should be

barred from the industry. Even worse, the report finds the bankers quite unrepentant.

“The best board I ever sat on,” it was told by one former director.

The governance was rather good,” agrees Lord Stevenson, the bank’s former chairman.

Not so long ago, politicians were infatuated with bankers. Indeed, there is suspiciously little

in the report about how Lord Stevenson and Sir James came by their fancy titles. The answer,

of which the Labour members of the commission are all too aware, is that Gordon Brown pretty

much governed in coalition with the banks. His appetite for tax revenue was every bit as great as

theirs for profit. The financial services sector paid two fifths of all corporation tax collected –

and every bonus it handed out was split 60/40 with Brown and Blair.

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