The trouble with bankers
Usually on this site I write features about various aspects of the financial system, leaving Lance to concentrate on the current affairs opinion pieces. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain dispassionate.
The financial system is having a bit of a wobble at the moment, rather like that earthquake that hit the UK recently, knocking a few glasses off the shelves and knocking a few minor celebrities off the front pages, at least for a day.
What has been called a ‘credit crunch’, and ignorantly predicted to be ‘over by Christmas’ (though, like the war, nobody states which year), is actually something rather more serious: in all probability it’s a return to normality. Risk is now being priced back into investments, default spreads are widening and, in general, everybody’s paying more for their money.
Which is as it should be. The last five years or so have seen a collective delusion on the part of economists, central bankers (with some exceptions), financial journalists, house buyers and consumers.
Of course interest rates will stay low (never mind inflation). Of course house prices always go up by 10% a year when wages rise by 3% (never mind the impossibility of the maths). Of course it’s different this time (no, it never is). Of course the UK has a miracle economy based on selling financial products and ever more expensive houses to each other, and doesn’t need manufacturing (unlike the Germans, for example).
To use the vernacular for a moment, it was all bollocks.