View Full Version : The economic times we find ourselves in ...

05-12-2011, 11:12 PM
Chancellor Osborne and PM Cameron on the Titanic.

Seriously though, nobody in their right mind would want to swap places with them at this critical time no matter how attractive the remuneration package .....

Does this British humour translate I wonder?

With appreciation for The Independent - a truly great newspaper.

06-12-2011, 04:02 AM
Oh, it does indeed translate ... The fact that most of the world is in the same boat (so to speak) makes it much easier to understand.

09-12-2011, 01:17 PM
To put on record the decisions made by British PM, David Cameron here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16104275).

09-12-2011, 04:12 PM
With appreciation for The Independent - a truly great newspaper.

Not an opinion shared by all British people.

Try the Telegraph:


The Titanic analogy has been overworked. Here is an analysis


{Moderator's comment: do remember that the Telegraph is not centrist as the Independent aims to be. It is another equally valid view.}

10-12-2011, 11:23 PM
If only we could really understand the complexity of the current European situation. Does any one person?

11-12-2011, 02:43 AM
If only we could really understand the complexity of the current European situation. Does any one person?

An excellent question. As a first potential candidate, I would nominate Nouriel Roubini. As a second, Nassim Taleb.

(If you don't know who they are, you can google them or look up their books on your local Amazon site.)

11-12-2011, 03:05 AM
A handful of people in the world, I guess; and none of them in politics - too many vested interests and too many folk in denial.

The most detailed report of most recent developments I have found is here


and the Financial Times is worth watching. You have to sign up, but you can view about ten articles a month free.

13-12-2011, 02:37 PM
Martin Wolf of the Financial Times writes:

“Perhaps future historians will consider *Maastricht a decisive step towards the emergence of a stable, European-wide power. Yet there is another, darker possibility. The effort to bind states together may lead, instead, to a huge increase in frictions among them. If so, the event would meet the classical definition of tragedy: hubris (arrogance); ate (folly); nemesis (destruction).”

I wrote the above in the Financial Times almost 20 years ago. My fears are coming true. This crisis has done more than demonstrate that the initial design of the eurozone was defective, as most intelligent analysts then knew; it has also revealed – and, in the process, exacerbated – a fundamental lack of trust, let alone sense of shared identity, among the peoples locked together in what has become a marriage of inconvenience.


*For those outside Europe:

'Maastricht' -The Treaty of Maastricht created the Euro.


16-12-2011, 12:08 AM
A corker here from The Independent 15/12/2011.

'Truth will out'. Perhaps.

16-12-2011, 07:57 AM
You should read a decent newspaper, Alan <grin>

Matt in the Telegraph is always better.


Miles MG
20-01-2013, 06:06 PM
'The economic times we find ourselves in.' I was pondering on all the money being spent on new nuclear submarines at £1,160 million each. 5 or 6 to be built, I believe. Imagine how many hospitals/schools/ renewed infrastructure projects that could pay for. What is wrong with man that he never stops finding more ingenious ways of spending ( even more ) money on ways to kill himself..

20-01-2013, 07:41 PM
Greed, that is the problem, buy on credit, thinking it is deserved, then expect someone to bail you out, or just default. Europe has been living beyond her means, and now the whole mess is coming home to roost...mind you, economic disasters have befallen European countries on a regular cyclical basis due to greed! The danger is that politicians will blame everyone and other countries for the problems facing their country, and in the past this led to major conflicts.

It's a good thing that there is one currency, otherwise some dumbass would start a conflict to cover their own errors...



21-01-2013, 01:13 AM
Greed, that is the problem ....

Maybe. But whose greed, that is the question ...

This is nothing new - this was happening in Roman times. Politicians can promise cakes and ale today, with tomorrow's money (no problem - the next generation will pay), bankers help them (and in the process, help themselves), and the people - most of them, anyway - eat it up.

Call it greed if you like, but no one is entirely innocent. So what's the fix?

21-01-2013, 06:16 PM
As long as such a high proportion of the population lacks self possession, and is led 'by the nose' into behaviour patterns which were not intiated by themselves, they will be forever trying to satisfy a non existent need, with what they 'think' they want.

My love of sound roots in a resonance of external stimuli in early life with a latent inner propensity, that of intrigue, interest, and the love of beautiful sound and music. I am not pursuing what is such a hard discipline because I have been prompted so to do by psychologists, advertising people, salesmen, accountants and lawyers, all working in collusion to control my behaviour.

How do I know? I have never been in a position to just buy expensive equipment, I have made a great deal, and often in difficult circumstances, I do not obtain brochures, but look at technical analyses of equipment and most of mine is second hand, much rebuilt by me. I also trust my ears. Whilst this is not a proof, it does give some indication of the real motivation in my pursuit.

Greed is surely self perpetuating in that the pusuit of cumulation becomes the goal, rather then the pursuit of something more satisfying because of a personal commitment and development resulting from endeavour.

The returns from accumulation are usually diminishing; nice to have a Lamborgini, but seven, when one can only drive one at a time?

Isn't greed therefore just another manifestation of compulsive neurosis, of which obesity, alcoholism, chain smoking and compulsive betting are examples?

22-01-2013, 10:43 AM
... Isn't greed therefore just another manifestation of compulsive neurosis, of which obesity, alcoholism, chain smoking and compulsive betting are examples?I think the underlying issue is that despite the seemingly ever greater electronic links between humans thanks to the internet, social media et al, in reality, many people live isolated, lonely lives with only superficial physical contact with other humans. The illusion created by marketeers is that just one more fag, one more fix, one more drink, one more bet is going to make that big, fulfilling difference. Some have the money to throw at those distractions; many live far beyond their means chasing the dream.

Consumerism is unlikely to provide genuine lasting fulfilment in a life that, for whatever reason, is devoid of adequate human to human contact. I am acutely aware that as a manufacturing for-profit company we walk a fine line between creating solutions for consumer enjoyment and long-term fulfilment and simultaneously an aspiration gap for those who would perhaps gain far more by, for example, volunteering their time and energy to the local community. That said, the 'churn' of those gravitating to Harbeth and then clutching at another speaker solution is minuscule, and even those who do so often reappear here bemoaning their gullibility. So we must have it about right I guess.

You will note that our product life cycle is, I'm told, the longest in the industry. It would be easy for me to introduce an endless stream of Models XYX, -1,-2,-3, -3X, -3X1, -3X1B, -3X1BM and so on (as some do with astonishing guile) but for what long term benefit for the consumer and ultimately ourselves? I really do not even like the concept of 'new models' because it begs awkward questions about the limitations of the old model which were so lauded only months ago and sets-up an aspiration gap for those who bought into the previous model and now may feel they are disadvantaged, even marginally. If technology (and my limited skills) were frozen forever, we simply wouldn't ever release a new model as here at Harbeth, model launches are disconnected to the commercialisation process. A decent interval must pass before I will even re-read my design Logbook.

22-01-2013, 08:00 PM
I applaud Alan for adhering to a philosophy of product design which exalts genuine and measurable gains in performance, as opposed to a 're-vamp' in new veneer, with a changed surface finish to the cones and a visibly different basket design - these readily seducing the public into a belief that some serious R&D has been undergone, and a major breakthrough achieved.

I am again reminded of my purchase of a motorcycle in '84, in which I considered several Japanese models, one looking very racey, and also a German one. The German company had a reputation for solid reliable engineering, but also for being a little agricultural and heavy to handle.

Within a few years the Japanese one was nowhere to be seen, but the German one I purchased lived on for many years, and I still see them occasionally. I measured the diameter of a bolt on which a pivoting arm and roller bearing operated the clutch, and that bolt was within 1 micron of 15mm. Quality?

I think that society has become increasingly divided since the 'emancipation' of the 80s, in which Mrs. Thatcher defined individualism as personal material gain. I remember well the shock I felt on hearing this, my wondering why personal expression and creativity were not a part of it.

Personal 'emancipation' has since been seemingly that of material acquisition and personal rights at the expense of alienation. Lonesomeness is applicable to me, and at times loneliness, but to me it is a farce to be with people with whom one has little or nothing in common, just in order to 'synthesise' a social milieu.

Since the death of my grandparents my own family has not met as it did in the late 50s at many Christmases and on other occasions for celebration. I think that this is also generally more so in society; fragmentation, and lack of extended family ties.

Working for the local community is fine, and I have done so numerously, but it is sadness inducing to see the shrubs and trees that one has helped plant, pulled out by drunken youths a few months later.

I have also found, and my friends have described my town as "Full of rednecks", that if one is freely helpful to others, one can become just another commodity or service to them, and without any sense of appreciation or even recognition being expressed.
Often this is from people who think that life owes them an existence regardless of their own disposition or effort.

It is easy to recall a few years ago a local girl of about 38 who has a beautiful voice, and who has never worked but had four children state supported, calling to tell me that she had been given £1000 and had bought a beautiful guitar which she showed me. She then broke down in tears saying; "I know I've got the talent but I can't bother".

In another example, I have numerously fixed Hi-Fi problems for a chap, and he has only once offered me anything; £1 after two hours of work and supplying materials and parts, he then asked me if I would allow him to park his car on my front garden, and look after his cat whilst he went to prison for six months.

It is especially true in my case that I have increasingly become more able in the last few years to recognise true advances in my own system quality, and recently I have been stunned at just how bare and often simple, music which previously sounded complex, is in reality.

I think it is also true that much Hi-Fi is still in essence tish-boom; exhibiting ostentatiously stilted top and bass, as though this alone, and necessarily, signifies real Hi-Fi.