Friday, 30 January 2009

The complexity of folly and the schadenfreude of ‘I told you so’

When I first showed an interest in Indonesia, AA was extolling the tiger economies of South East Asia. That was before 1997/8. It was not, of course, the beauty of the figures on the stock market display boards that I was interested in at the time.
I was saddened by his decision, having won a first class engineering degree from Oxford, to allow himself to be head-hunted into the ‘great game’ of playing with derivatives. It was the only major argument we ever had when I tried to suggest it was an unwise move. He was deeply hurt by my lack of enthusiasm.
I am very sad that I have not been able to maintain personal contact but I have heard that another one of his enthusiasms was for Enron, although he managed to escape before the collapse.
An essential part of the huge confidence trick that is the world economy is the complexity and intellectual effort required to be ‘on the inside’ which is why head hunters can trawl and steal excellent minds away from useful pursuits like contributing to the advancement of human knowledge and into silly fast paced games with other people's money. Those who, like your dear K, are actually making a useful contribution (as indeed you are yourself) have to spend their lives in penury, wasting their time begging for funding.
There seems to be a similarity in the elitist pseudo-scholarship of the market and that of religion. In both cases the ‘experts’ deceive the people into lives of misery and dependence.
I have no way of knowing, but I do hope that one day AA may come to his senses. And the rest of the world too.