This is a welcome development, confirming the big banks' desire to be different and following NAB's 'the other banks hate us advertising'.
Perhaps the big banks think Rod Sims will be a tougher regulator that Graeme Samuels, or perhaps they have finally decided it is important to at least seem competitive in the battle for business.
However, the debate among the bank economists throws very little light on the likely moves in Australian interest rates. This is because the only sensible reply to the question the bank economists are trying to answer is 'it all depends'.
Should the US congress fail to agree on a viable deficit reduction plan, or if the Eurozone implodes or if China's attempts to quell inflation produce an ugly growth recession there, the next move in local interest rates will almost certainly be down.
However, if the global economy fails to return to recession/depression and Australia's mining boom hots up (as it is predicted to do) and continues to increase Australia's inflation, the Reserve Bank will need to act or face charges of dereliction of duty.
Failure to raise rates in that circumstances whould be like Wellington's army turning away at the first whiff of grapeshot in the battle of Waterloo.
Glenn Steves is no Wellington, but he knows he has to stick to his agreement with the nation's Treasurer and act to stifle inflation.
The most interesting recent comment on the dilemma facing Glenn Stevens is 'why wait' to raise rates. Australia's goods and service (CPI) inflation is already above the top of the RBA's 2 to 3 % range, and even 'underlying' CPI inflation is rising sharply toward the upper bound. If Australia's productivity performance remains dismal, or indeed worsens, inflation will worsen even if the rest of the world is in a (mild) financial Armageddon.
My column next Tuesday will discuss this question in detail, but there is one simple answer. If the Americans are still facing a possible 'financial Armageddon' when the board of the RBA meets, it will be regarded as too risky to raise rates.
I expect at least the Reserve will restore its bias to tightening next Tuesday, unless of course financial Armageddon is already underway.
Henry should declare that he is involved in a bet on the matter. If the next rate move is down, Henry will be required to purchase a $100 bottle of wine and share it with a retired titan of industry. One the other hand, if the next move is up, said titan will be buying the bottle.
More on Tuesday, gentle readers.
Saturday Sanity Break, 5 January 2013
Date: Saturday, January 05, 2013
Author: Henry Thornton
Best wishes for the new year, gentle readers. With luck the global economic scene will be better than last year, but we fear Australia's economy may keep sliding.
Regular readers will recognise that this has been Henry's theme for some time. Now the big battalions are joining the chorus, notably Clancy Yates of The Age.
Our dear friend and former colleague, John Stone, has made his regular contribution to national debate with his comments on the excessive spending that lead to Paul Keating's Banana Republic confession and later switch from deficit to surplus, briefly described here. One might gently suggest that the Rudd-Gillard-Swan government's behaviour confirms that Labor's DNA is still committed to over-spending.
In another article from The Oz that is unavailable on Henry's smart phone, or well hidden, Ross Babbage says 'Past sub[marine] mistakes make a case for going nuclear'. This echoes Henry's concerns, stated here. Henry's views are, however, disputed, and here is the latest contribution, which is from a distinguished scientist working in the defence sector.
Since this is an election year, we have renewed our column on 'Australian Politics', which shall be updated whenever we receive an interesting comment from a reader, or spot a nice article elsewhere, or have an insight we have seen nowhere else.
We have also resolved to reintroduce our column on 'Australian Housing', partly for self-interested motives as the Thornton family may soon be re-entering that exciting market and partly because a number of readers have asked us to do so.
Here are the initial offerings - Politics and Housing - and please note the 'comment' option in each case.
We are also delighted to announce the return of Fiona Prior after an absence of almost three years. Fiona is currently helping to organise the Sydney Festival and will resume posting her much read articles as soon as she gets some time. Fiona's CV and article listing is available here.
A sad story this weekend - Namatjira's ghost gums burnt down.
Did the USA go over the cliff or is it still tetering on the edge?
A nice article by Brad Norrington in The Oz (no link I can find) shows there is a long way to go yet. The question - is the USA set to become the next Greece or, rather, Greece with the most powerful military arsenal in the world?
The image below may help you to decide.
Image of the week
Date: Thursday, January 03, 2013
Author: Henry Thornton
The world breathed a huge sigh of relief, equity markets rallied, US Republicans are divided and President Obama returned to Hawaii to resume his holiday.
The compromise hammered out at 5 minutes past midnight relied on (in my view sensible) Republicans to get the approval of the House, but presumably leaves the Tea Party Republicans fuming and seeking revenge.
Taxes on wealthy Americans have been taken back to levels under President Clinton, though loop holes that reduce effective rates of tax to zero or not much more have presumably not been changed.
Spending cuts have been postponed for two months and the Tea Party boys will be able to have more fun when a bill to raise the debt limits needs to be passed.
Let me be clear - Henry would rather see lower spending and lower taxes, especially on incomes, and especially saving, but the immediate challenge is to close the fiscal gap so that US debt stops growing. How to do this is contentious, but in a democracy the majority must prevail.
The Tea Party (and gun toting) Republicans do not seems to accept the basic rules of the democratic game.
Anyway, the fiscal compromise will presumably extend to raising the debt ceiling in due course, and one sincerely hopes spending will be reined in as part of this process. US debt levels are dangerously close to unsustainable levels, and if capital markets come to fear a crisis of confidence, US bonds will be sold off, the $US will plunge and interest rates will rise notwithstanding 'official' (Ben Bernanke) cash rates near zero.
Asian industial production is rising, and this adds to the fiscal cliff relief to suggest 2013 may be a year in which the world economy is in better shape.
Europe remains mired in depression (in the South) and recession (in the North), and also has a long term debt problem to solve. Europe, like the USA, Britain and Japan, is printing money at an unsustainable rate and inflation will be the consequence.
RIO's iron ore boss, Sam Walsh, has warned that iron ore prices (recently $144 a tonne) have been boosted by temporary, weather related, events and will not remain at current high levels. The miners, big and small, are focussed on cutting costs, and Australia's industrial production is still falling. The high Australian dollar is another factor that is not sustainable, and regular readers will be aware that Henry has decided that we need a tax on capital inflow to reduce the $A to a sustainable 80 cents to the US dollar. (Link here)
This advice has been passed on to the RBA, and one hopes Glenn Stevens is pondering it over the festive season.
One also hopes Australia's political leaders have resolved to be both more positive and more civil in this election year.
Stephen Matchett has referred them to a good book on Abraham Lincoln, or else the film that will be in cinemas in February.
Henry wishes all his readers a prosperous 2013. There may well be continued crises, big and small, but one should always keep in mind that crisis provides opportunity.
Weekend Sanity Break, 28 December 2012
Date: Friday, December 28, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
Another year older but happily not deeper in debt.
Cannot say that for the nation of course. Despite repeated promises, the Gillard-Swan government has had to break another pledge. The necessity to do this has been evident throughout 2012, but driven on by who knows what the Treasurer and Prime minister persisted with their poorly conceived promise well past any sensible backflip time.
Now, of course, the smarties are pointing out that this government has managed to run record deficits at a time when Australia is experiencing record terms of trade. This is partly because, like most governments, Gillard-Swan cannot stop themselves from spending in desperate attempts to prop up their popularity. Partly is is because of panic at the time of the GFC - 'go soon, go hard, go consumers - for which the sadly diminished, highly politicised Treasury must take some of the blame.
What will the New Year bring?
The USA seems increasingly likely to go over its 'fiscal cliff', though markets rallied when it was announced that the House of Reps is to meet on Monday. My best guess about the consequences is provided here.
Makes grim reading except for the point that it may be just what America needs to get the Republican Tea Party faction to begin behaving with a modicom of common sense.
Noel Pearson in the OZ today points out that President Obama outsmarted the Republicans bigtime when he set up the current impasse from a position of apparent weakness two years ago.
(Henry can provide no links to the Oz today as its website is too clunky to open in reasonable time on the laptop.)
Henry's oldest is planning another semester in the US of A, this time in the mid-west, where he plans to finish his law degree with close attention to US constitutional history. Unlikely to reinforce his job prospects here, but one never knows where a combination of history from his undergraduate degree and a US constitutional law focus from his post-graduate degree will lead.
China's recovery seems to be on track, with iron ore prices again touching $140 per tonne, and Twiggy Forrest cranking up his third force in iron ore from the Great Southern Province - correction, trading partner.
Henry's youngest offspring is going with his university class to interview migrant workers and small business owner-operators for three weeks later this year, and the lad may never be the same again. He is the one with the wit to have dug up the near deceased dog in the Christmas miracle documented here.
The Eurozone is still deeply mired in excess debt and excessive austerity. TV images of Angela Mercal pushing another Eurozone politician out of her way as they entered or left a meeting will play well in Germany and reinforce attitudes elsewhere.
Henry's middle child, a charming girl, spent the second half of last year travelling with friends in Europe and seems likely to focus future travel plans elsewhere.
Despite the generally better news from abroad, Henry remains pessimistic about the performance of Gillard-Swan's Australia. Costs are too high, regulations (especially IR) too discouraging to business and the dollar too high for many businesses to cope.
It is a waste of time trying to help this government. We simply hope that Australia's next government is more interested in promoting the cause of a far wider set of Australians - far wider than the current set of favoured 'comrades'.
The World Without Us.
Holiday reading this festive season has included The World without Us by Alan Weisman, reviewed here.
The outstanding question can be put this way: 'Are we in fact intelligent enough to avoid extinction but also to retain the Eden that we inherited? Over to you, gentle readers, and especially those of you who have put your hands up to be leaders'.
Henry welcomes comment by anyone who feels moved to do so, or to comment seperately on the book or the review.
Henry was travelling from one place in which Channel Nine's picture repeatedly broke up (Sydney) to another place (Boggabri) in which Channel nine could not not be found, even after Henry's youngest had found and remedied the television set-up.
Hence he had to rely solely on the radio broadcast, but still had the distinct impression that the hapless Sri Lankans were monstered far more thoroughly than the mighty South Efricans.What a pity Johnson and Bird were not bowling in the third test against the men from the land of President Mandela.
Johnson and Bird, as someone noted, were the number ten and number 11 choices to open the bowling this summer. Is the latest result a tribute to the rotation policy for fast bowlers of a black mark against the selectors? Who knows, gunga din
Image of the year
A Christmas Miracle
Date: Thursday, December 27, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
St. John disappeared a few days before Christmas. Much searching was done, and posters were printed and placed on lampposts for a kilometers around, advising of the lost dog and its name. The family mourned its probable loss, especially sad for his owner, a young girl who is soon to leave for Holland for a year at a Dutch school.
Christmas day came, and St John's presents were left forornly under the tree. The Christmas feast was consumed with a toast for the missing canine. Afternoon sleeps came and went and at 11.45 pm a guest loitering in the garden heard a whimper. An intensive search began but it was unclear from where the whimper, now repeated, came. An especially perceptive young man said he thought the whimper came from the flower bed. Let's dig, the lad suggested, and his first handful of loam uncovered a paw.
Said young man began to dig vigorously, not unlike a dog after a bone, or a rabbit in days when dogs dug for rabbits. The shape of a trembling St. John appeared, his hind quarters jammed under a shelf of concrete. He was gently lifted out, extremely thin, obviously dehydrated and unable to stand. St. John was given a drink, washed, knots cut from his coat, and during the latter activity a maggot was found, doubtless waiting its chance to feast on a fresh dead doggie.
St. John had been buried for five days. Five days! This can't be right, how did he breath? Why did his fellow dog not lurk about near the place of the burial, whining for his lost pal? How did St. John dig himself into such a difficult position?
Henry can answer none of these questions. So far as he is concerned this is a rolled gold Christmas miracle. Possibly the Christmas angels took pity on the pooch, who is a cute King Charles Cavalier, with a name that would be familiar to the angels. We wish him a long and happy life, but deep suspicion must hang over his fellow dog, who it must be said, showed no great joy at the miraculous reappearence of his supposed mate.
Date: Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
We wish all our loyal readers a safe and happy festive season, and every good fortune for 2013.
Henry and Mrs. Thornton, and offspring Thorntons, all gathering this year with Mrs T's rellies in Sydney.
Christians and fellow travellors may enjoy the animated Christmas story, courtesy Peter Nicholson of the OZ.
Click on the link below, then follow the instructions.
Saturday Sanity Break, 22 December 2012
Date: Saturday, December 22, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
US stocks fell overnight, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its first triple-digit point loss in more than a month. It seems Americans are somewhat disturbed at the latest news on the 'fiscal cliff', news that the Republican's 'Plan B' has been withdrawn and they have all gone home for Christmas.
Some clever person has suggested that we wait until the emergency action already legislated for raises taxes on January 1 and then the Republicans can vote to cut tax rates, though not to the unsustainable 2012 levels. Honour saved, fiscal disaster avoided, everyone happy.
Sort of like going over the cliff with a bungee rope around one ankle.
Still, going over the fiscal cliff may be about as scary as the end of the world Mayan-style.
'If the arms of US governence remain locked in a wrestle that offers no solution, at least the long term debt problem of the USA would be less serious, and US businesses and households might understand their destiny is in their hands, not those of incompetent politicians'.
Rumination about Australia's wasted year in politics continue to fill the pages of the quality papers. Nice one in the Oz about Tony Abbott's time as a 'colonial gorilla', winning the Oxford-Cambridge boxing contest that was tied 4-4 before our wild colonial boy entered the ring to knock out the Cambridge heavyweight champ in 45 seconds.
Henry's meandering geologist, Louis Hissink, weighs in from a remote mining camp. 'Gadzooks – it’s 21st December and now I find out that the end is around 11pm tonight, so here’s a possible last post from HMG (I’m meandering, not wandering, at the moment) before all collapses around our ears.
'Of course as far as the Gillard Guvmint is concerned, it might as well be now as the PM is on leave and the Treasurer has taken leave of his senses, given the news these last few days, when Wayne’s World announced an absence of a budgetary surplus next year. That is one hell of a negative, fiscal and sentiment, I would say'.
From the archives comes a blast from the late Sir Wellington Boote, Henry's greatest iconoclast.
'The zeitgeist of the 70s was full of pixie dust nonsense about how easy it is to bring a Stone Age group into the modern world. When the intractability of progress was encountered by the public servants they quickly settled for enslaving these Australians with social welfare payments'.
Read on here and ask yourself what has changed in the past four and a half years of Rudd-Gillard rule.
Much hand-wringing about Australia's low international score in matters educational this week.
'Results prove education system favours girls, yet we do nothing', says Angela Shanahan.
'The collaborative classroom works well for girls. Their psychological development helps them fit into groups.
'Boys are simply not so responsive to this collaborative element, particularly when they reach adolescence, and they have to collaborate with the girls too. They are also up to two years behind the girls' emotional development. Add the fact that most teachers are women and the picture is a bit grim for young males'.
With women now filling all the leadership positions in Australia it is not surprising that boys are being discriminated against in education.
And when the Y-chromosome finally collapses (predicted by some scientists to be just a few short millions of years away), reproduction will be done by cloning, or perhaps splicing, and the victory of the wimmin will be complete.
Roll on progress.
Henry salutes the Australian cricket team for its win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.
For a long while we thought that the scrapping Sri Lankans were going to do a South Efrica and hold out for a draw, but Siddle-n-Stark came through to crash through the defences.
Henry and Mrs T were close to the 'G' last night at about the time the Big Bash was ending. We saw only 4 boys leaving to catch a tram,and they were polite and apparently sober.
What is the world coming to?
Image of the week
Courtesy The Australian
Strange and unnatural happenings - economic update
Date: Friday, December 21, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
Signs of potential rapprochment between the American president and the Tea Party Republicans earlier this week buoyed markets and qualified as 'strange and unnatural'. Lovers of the strange and unnatural were disappointed that the normal huffing and puffing resumed in the past day or so.
US housing markets continue to surprise on the upside and the latest US GDP data was relatively strong. Failure to fix the US budget - which would itself be a matter of strong surprise - will stop all the nonsense about 'economic recovery'.
Downunder, it is situation normal - the government breaking another frequently reiterated promise (to return the budget to surplus) - gaining the cheers of economists for failing to depress the economy any more than it already is. Henry wishes it to be known that he deplores the promise breaking, that a more prudent fiscal policy during the time of severe global crisis would mean the budget would be in comfortable surplus now. ('My commitment to a surplus in 2012-13 was a promise made and it will be honoured'. Julia Gillard, April 13, 2011.)
The liason information about the true state of the economy remains mixed. Mrs Thornton is this family's shopper-in-chief, believing (correctly) as she does that Henry spends too freely when he is required to spend time in shops, and she believes 'the situation is dire'. Henry, however, has discerned some shreds of evidence of potential recovery. Most importantly, the man who frames Henry's paintings - available for viewing here - says business has picked up 'substantially' in the past three months, which he attributes to the rate cuts. Be aware that there is a picture-framing-led recovery underway in leafy Kew, gentle readers, another strange and unnatural fact.
Australia's economic journalists are bleating almost in chorus that the exchange rate is too high, but have failed to notice or report Henry's masterplan, involving tax on capital inflow.
Recognition of another policy strike by Henry would itself be a strange and unnatural act, and there is still time for Terry McCrann or similar swashbuckling scribe to be the first to declare Henry a renegade, whose membership of the Economic Society of Australia (Victorian branch) should be stripped away and the unexpired annual subscription returned. Later, of course, one of the swashbuckling scribes would claim the idea for his own, or emanating from the RBA or (gasp!) Treasury.
We are told in today's Oz, on the basis of a leaked draft of the forthcoming defence White Paper, that China's military power is 'shifting the balance' of military power in the Pacific. Where do they get such brilliant ideas?, one is forced to ask. We need a decent submarine fleet, comrades, and the sooner the better. (More hereand here)
Why are we not surprised that members of Australia's customs service has been shown to be corrupt, aiding drug and gun smugglers and getting rich in the process. Like people in many modern capitalist nations, Australians have become infected with the idea that we all deserve to live in a McMansion and drive a flash car, and if we cannot get rich legally, we shall do so unlawfully. Corporations do their best to rip off their customers - think banks or electricity companies - and at the peak of the crisis the invisible hand delivered only a slap. Read the recent book Slapped by the Invisible Hand for an entertaining and informative account of the crisis and how we got there.
Australia`s defence in the currency wars
Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
Australia in 2013 is facing a 'unique combination' of low interest rates (some say 2 % or even lower) and a high dollar.
Low interest rates and the flood of hot money that is keeping the dollar high will fuel inflation here, and the high dollar is already destroying local industry.
This is an inevitable backwash from the so-called 'currency wars', whose existance Alan Kohler discovered on a recent visit to New York.
With cash rates effectively zero, the US, Japan, the UK and the Eurozone are all pumping out excess money with the aim of reducing other interest rates and thus stimulating economic activity.
I also commend Glenn Stevens, for an even-handed discussion of many of these matters in a recent speech in Bangkok, but he needs to think harder, and with a fresher focus.
Many questions are raised by this vast monetary policy experiment, some of which are listed below. [Henry's short answers are in square brackets.]
Will the experience prove Keynes' assertion that there is a point at which monetary policy is like 'pushing on a string'? [Yes, arguably experience has mightily confirmed that point already.]
Will excess money fail to be reined in when economic recovery eventually begins and will this mean there is a burst of global inflation sufficient to end the post 1980s era of low (goods and services) inflation? [It will be mighty hard, as people (ie voters), will say the central bankers are stifling the recovery. Goodbye central banking independance, hello inflation.]
Is this the specific intent of the excess money generators, since (they think) inflation will erode the real value of their massive debts? [I do not buy this suggestion, for two reasons. Central bankers are not sufficiently devious to consider such an outcome. And, if proven, such action would provoke massive retaliation from countries who held the debt being eroded. We may see retaliation anyway, eg China announcing its currency is backed by gold.]
Will 'intervention' in forex markets bring the Aussie dollar down? [If this means the RBA buying and selling international currency the answer is 'Not in any meaningful way'.]
Is there any other policy innovation that could help achieve a better balance of interest rates and the exchange rate? [The RBA should recreate its exchange control department to impose tax on capital inflows. Such a tax would discourage the excess capital inflows, and could be varied according to need, the rate of tax rising if capital inflows were driving the dollar higher, initially forcing it down to a level at which vital industries are not grossly uncompetitive. The RBA should be left to decide the level of the tax, according to the charter in the RBA act plus the agreement on keeping inflation under control.]
John Howard famously said that we have the right to determine who comes here and on what terms, or words to that effect.
This approach should apply even more forcefully to capital flows.
At present, Australia is getting more capital inflow than we need, and the consequences are destroying our manufacturing industries and weakening inward tourism, exports of education and a whole raft of domestic industries, as well as leading Australians to sell assets to overseas buyers at prices that will eventually be seen as far too cheap.
We need to radically rethink this matter. With current policies we shall end up with damaging inflation imported from the major nations undertaking massive 'quantitative easing' and an economy that is rapidly becoming a smoking ruin.
Please think afresh on this matter during the festive season, Mr Stevens.
Strange and unnatural happenings - The Hobbitt
Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
Wizards, dwarves, orcs, goblins, elves, wonderful scenery and, at the Village Roadshow premier, a lovely Air New Zealand advertisement that even (briefly) featured Peter Jackson playing himself, along with an aircrew and passengers playing dwarves, elves, orcs, goblins, a wizard and hairy-footed Hobbitts.
The Hobbitt is back, and now we have the opportunity to learn about all the goings on that lead to The Fellowship of the Ring. (Prequel is probably the official description.)
This movie is in theatres from Boxing day, where it will compete with the Test Match for audiences. 'No contest' is Henry's judgment.
There are many epic battles, in which thirteen dwarves, Bilbo Baggins and Gandolf the wizard somehow emerge alive, though not always unscathed, while the bad guys (orcs, goblins and their vicious slathering giant wolf-like steeds) get killed in vast numbers.
For me the most memorable scene was near the start, when said thirteen dwarves descend on Bilbo Baggin's house in the hill (yes, that is not 'house on the hill') and eat everything on the shelves and in his carefully accumulated food stores.
This will remind you, as it reminded Henry, of Christmas lunches past and the reason why, like the dwarves, Australians are becoming obese at an accelerating rate.
The many battles will remind you of Australian politics 2012, and you shall yearn for the good old days of Sir Robert Menzies and Arthur Calwell.
End of the year - strange and unnatural happenings
Date: Monday, December 17, 2012
Author: Henry Thornton
The Mayans say the world ends on 21 December, and if that is correct the US fiscal cliff will not bother us at all.
Henry's son Bert and his special loved one will be camping in the mountains, and may survive the promised deluge, but will sadly not be fully equipped to begin the regeneration of the human race.
The Economist magazine believes, with the rest of us, that the fiscal cliff will be somehow fixed: 'The shadow of the fiscal cliff has depressed corporate investment. American consumer confidence has started to wobble. Growth is slowing, perhaps to as little as 1% in the fourth quarter. Policymakers around the world are fretting: Australia’s central bank has just cut rates, citing the cliff as a worry'. ...
'If lawmakers do nothing, America faces fiscal tightening in 2013 worth up to 5% of GDP. That is a Greek-scale squeeze. It would not take many months for it to push the country into recession. A complete stand-off between Mr Obama and Congress would lead to disaster even sooner, for unless America’s lawmakers vote to increase the “debt ceiling” (the maximum amount of debt that the Treasury can issue) by around March, the federal government will be unable to pay its bills—including, potentially, its bondholders. The damage from a self-induced default would dwarf even that from the fiscal cliff.
'However, precisely because the consequences of prolonged stalemate would be so disastrous, there almost certainly will not be one'.
The image accompanying the article reveals a relaxed attitude that reinforces the 'she'll be right' message quoted above. More here.And here.
Higher ed: the opiate of the corporates
The conversation over last evening's BBQ naturally veered to the terrible mass killing in the USA, and the prospect of serious gun control in the land of the free (but frequently terrified). Mrs Thornton wondered why people whose careers and lives are ruined by them being made redundant do not embark on mass killings of senior executives responsible. We got nowhere fast on this matter, which deserves further study.
This morning, however, the fertile brain of Mrs T came up with an hypothesis.
The background is a study Mrs T has carried out with colleagues at her university, on the relation between company results and the education of their CEOs, using Australia's top 200 companies as the sample. Try as they might, there is no discernable relationship between CEO education and company results, even though Mrs T was secretly hoping to find a negative relationship when the MBA was used as an explanatory variable. Henry's contribution is to observe that the best CEO he has worked with has no tertiary education at all, and neither did the master politician Paul Keating.
It was Marx who said that religion was the opiate of the masses. Mrs T suggests that tertiary education is the opiate of corporate employees, which explains why there are no (or very few) massacres of corporate chiefs who ruin people's lives. 'Not even the boss of Enron was massacred' observed Mrs T.
Physics and economics - a breakthrough
Henry has noticed that Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 has a parallel in economics.
This is the monetarist equation Mv=Py.
Py is a measure of energy (E) and M (money supply) is a measure of the forcing factor equivalent to mass (m), running Einstein's equation in the usual direction as one does when a large nuclear explosion is being discussed.
Economics' 'v' is not a constant, like c2 is supposed to be, but Henry is confident that eventually 'c' will be found to vary in ways analogous to 'v's' variation, discussed most precisely in Friedman and Schwartz, A Monetary History of the United States. Hyperinflation is perhaps the economic equivalent to a nuclear explosion, but we need to bone up on tensor vectors before this can be confirmed.