The first presidential debate between Obama and Romney only showed that neither of them should occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on that performance: neither said anything
Obama, who doesn’t do economics, was lacklustre to the point of being insipid, whereas Romney, who does, spoke grandiloquently about sweet sod-all. Example: 'I will introduce a perfect tax regime.' What the hell does that mean? Answer: a 4-point rise in the polls for Romney.
I heard this debate at the bar of the Union Club, where I had much a more serious debate with the charming members, and I was particularly interested in Mr Beverley Deur’s descriptive analysis on the nature of bureaucracy…
This is what he said: bureaucrats are like an army of ants who operate a neural network, where the nodes of the network are ants who send out pheromones to each other to encourage them to advance and expand. The idea is that the problems that this network can solve are much greater than a single ant can resolve.
These ants then advance as if they were going along the spokes of a wheel, laying a chemical trail, which becomes their food-chain, but by the half-way mark they have eaten all the food, and like as if there was a forest fire, they panic, and so they just pick up their marbles and head back to where they came from, having achieved nothing! It was Plato, wasn’t it?, who said that politicians are ants, whereas philosophers are akin to bees.
At this point I return you to the said good Mr Deur’s description. Halfway along this bureaucratic path to hell paved with good intentions but terrible consequences, suddenly there is something like a forest fire – as when the Bond Vigilante’s wake up for instance – and there is panic and these wretched bureaucratic ants are the first to rush off clutching their tax-free morsels.
Otherwise the ants could soon be in retreat everywhere, as this ex-growth world collapses into financial and social disaster. Stay tuned in the run-up to 6 November…