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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Real cycles

The number 11 bus, or Outer Circle, takes about two hours to go round Birmingham. Years ago, it was regulated by Bundy clocks at various points on the route. However early he arrived, the driver would have to wait for the correct moment, insert his key, then continue with his journey.

With any routine, selfish habits creep in: the consumer pays, but the service revolves around the provider. Even in the coldest weather, the driver, shut in his heated cab, would leave the passenger door open at each stop, including the long pauses at clock stages; this saved him having to punch the control for the door if a new fare should arrive. If the driver got hungry, he might pull up outside a fish and chip shop and get a hot meal to eat off his dashboard as he drove. On the 16 route, there was an green-painted cast-iron Victorian public urinal just off the Soho road, where the driver would stop off when he felt the need - leaving the bus door open, as usual.

"As above, so below", the alchemists said; and vice versa. I read a long time ago how British elections tend to be timed around economic boomlets; and more recently, how the American economy revives every four years to fit the fixed-term Presidential elections. Among stockbrokers, it used to be said "Sell in May, and go away", so the market suited the requirement for gentlemen to relax in summer; and see how even now, the Dow and the FTSE rise towards the end of the year, when traders' annual bonuses are calculated - the Tech boom of 2000 being an excellent example.

The doomsters don't tend to set timetables - maybe they've learned that from the Jehovah's Witnesses (I don't know how often The Watchtower showed us that the end was possibly going to come very soon - a favourite image was a runaway train heading downhill to a bridgeless chasm). So I'll my neck out instead and make a prediction: the Dow will rise until bonus time, then flutter nervously until the 2008 Chinese Olympics; then there's the US Presidential election to get through; then we'll have the reckoning. A new president will be able to say, "I've had a look at the books, gentlemen, and I hadn't realised how badly the company was managed." And at last, the corrective process will really begin.

That's my chance to join the ranks of the comprehensively wrong. Place your bets.

5 comments:

dearieme said...

"Place your bets." But with whom? You've already warned me to scrutinise the bookie carefully.

SACKERSON said...

DM: agreed. Wherever we store what wealth we have, is a bet - even cash is a bet on the effects of inflation. If in doubt, I would prefer first to get out of debt (unlike investment returns, debt is certain), then have some cash, then diversify. Faites vos jeux, mesdames, messieurs.

Sir James Badger said...

So I'll my neck out instead and make a prediction: the Dow will rise until bonus time, then flutter nervously until the 2008 Chinese Olympics; then there's the US Presidential election to get through; then we'll have the reckoning.

Not a bad time frame, as long as the FASB Statement doesn't expose the CDOs for what they are.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I like your analogy with the bus service!

SACKERSON said...

Welcome, Welshcakes, and thank you. Made a book from your Sicilian recipes yet?