We briefly discussed the ideas of Nassim Nicholas Taleb today in conference, and I started to wonder: who among the world leaders, both present and future, is in the best position to navigate these murky economic seas and get us all out in one piece?
I personally have no deep affection for David Cameron, but I don't think Gordon Brown's measures so far have addressed any of the inherent liabilities within the current system. Nor has he proposed any changes to prevent the 'boom and bust' pattern that is a seemingly inevitable occurence of the current laissez-faire free market approach upheld by New Labour et al.
So, what is going to happen? Are we doomed to a recession? Or will we be bailed out only to inflate another speculative bubble that bursts in a decade or so? There are lots of voices clamouring for attention from the powers that be: Marxists, anarchists, free-market fundamentalists... but there is certainly nothing like a consensus on what should be done. A glance at any of the national papers' letters sections will attest to that.
America is on the brink of collapse, China is the new world super-heavyweight, Europe can no longer hold its own; or alternatively: America is invincible, China cannot sustain its growth and Europe has the only governments with enough sense to have averted this catastrophe.
What's going on? Who knows? I certainly don't.