The World Waits to Wobble

My joke 3 years ago that the EU might fall apart before Britain had left is starting to look semi-serious. I do believe that the world, especially Europe and the US, is one shock away from a major meltdown. This could be triggered by a a major political or economic event or triggered by irrational emotional contagion. Fasten your seat belts folks, the ride is about to get bumpy.

BREXIT Wildcards

A couple of things nobody seems to be thinking about. First, there have been calls for a second EU referendum for a while and the prospect seems more serious with the Labour Party perhaps backing the idea at, or before, the next election. The idea, and it’s a weak one in my view, is that people didn’t quite know what they were voting for last time or people were misled. Sounds just like any election I can remember. But what if there is a second vote and the result is leave again? Then what? The assumption seems to be that a second vote would result in a different result. Not necessarily.

My second wildcard thought is what happens if we have a financial meltdown before 31st October? Could this create an EU collapse before Britain has left the EU?

There’s a book called the Levelling by Michael O’Sullivan, an analyst at Credit Suisse, and in it he argues that globalisation has stopped, Economic growth is weak to non-existent and the next natural dip is long overdue in countries like the US and China. Central banks have accumulated too much power, QE is distorting markets, especially bonds, and is creating a generational divide too through asset price inflation, notably housing. The banking system is still under-regulated (shadow banking is hardly regulated at all) and the big tech companies are too dominant financially. World debt stands at 320% of GDP and risk is networked throughout the entire system. One tiny spark could ignite everything.

Where is this heading? A serious change of direction most probably. I think there’s a 50:50 chance of a global crash either next month (it’s generally October!) or spring 2020 and what will governments ,and the EU in particular, do in such a situation? They have no tools left to use, except, perhaps, for negative interest rates and taxation based upon wealth not just income and that would be explosive. You might create inflation to dilute the debt, but we’ve seen where that ends up.

Future Vision: Book launch in Sydney

Just in case you are in Sydney and would like to attend the launch of Future Vision it’s happening at UTS Business School. Details and link are below. I am in London I’m afraid and will not be attending. However, my co-author, Oliver Freeman, will be there and, I’m sure, say a few words.

Date: Wednesday 28th November
Time: 6pm-8pm
Venue: UTS Aerial Function Centre, 7/235 Jones Street,  Sydney, NSW
Cost: Free, but places are limited and RSVP essential
RSVP: Please register below by Friday 23th November

Talk of the week (and Norman no friends)

Yikes, what has happened? The feed burner usually has around 1,000 subscribers (1042 yesterday). Today it’s none. Was my last post really that upsetting or do we have a ghost or a hacker in the machine?

How about a good talk to go to if you are in or around London this weekend? Something that looks rather good is a talk by the architect Will Alsop at the School of Life on Sunday 11.30-1.00pm. The talk is Will Alsop on boredom and will cover why empty time is such a good thing, especially for creativity. Right up my street.

School of Life, 70 Marchmont Street, London WC1.