“If you want to revisit the 1970s, you no longer need a history book or a time machine. All that’s required is a collection of today’s newspapers – Right- or Left-leaning, it matters little – together with a regular infusion of BBC agitprop. With a few notable exceptions, all seem to gravitate around a tediously predictable banker-bashing, anti-profit, bonus-hating, anti-big-business agenda which spins us 40 years back in time to one of the lowest points in British history. What goes around comes around, I suppose, so with inflation perking up again, it can surely only be a matter of time before the Government brings back a fully blown Prices Commission. I exaggerate, of course, but only to make the point.”
He is broadly right, of course. Some of the “banker bashing”, though, has even come from the free market side of the fence, such as from the likes of Professor Kevin Dowd – who is known around these parts – making the point that banks operating with the implicit guarantee from the state and cheap money have been able to let their normally healthy instincts run amok. Alas, most of the attacks have focused on their allegedly big bonuses, which while it does not miss the mark entirely, is not really central to why we got into our current mess.
And Warner is interesting on how an energy sector, which has its problems, will not be in good shape if we keep hitting bank finance. There is another issue, meanwhile. What we might be seeing is a mixture of “junk science” (the notions that are leading us to turn our backs on cheap or at least reliable energy) and “junk money” (Quantitative Easing, etc).
It is interesting that he argues that there is a 1970s feel about the UK at the moment. He is right, although the private sector does not have the union militancy of back then, and the Cold War is over, and globalisation, for all its ups and downs, has taken more hold to the immense benefit of countries such as India and China. I see little sign of a move back to the 1970s in Asia.