On Will Hutton for a Sunday

Capitalism is the best and worst of systems. Left to itself, it will embrace the new and relentlessly follow the logic of prices and profit, a revolutionary catalyst for necessary change. But it can only ever react to today’s prices, which cannot capture what will happen tomorrow. So, left to itself, capitalism will neglect both the future and the cohesion of the society in which it trades.

What friggin‘ nonsense is this? Has no one ever told Willy that markets are forward looking?

Wasn’t he a stockbroker at one point? Didn’t anyone tell him that the current value of a share is the discounted net present value of all future income from that share?

That, inevitably, the whole system is making decisions on what they think is going to happen in the future?

How does this buffoon get taken seriously?

12 comments on “On Will Hutton for a Sunday

  1. Because he’s a leftie buffoon who mumbles soothing platitudes that justify the existence of the managerial class of whom he is a member, is why. In that too reasonable, too quiet, creepy voice he has.

  2. He is, of course, referring to Fama: market prices include all known information at that point in time. And more Fama: future stock movements cannot be predicted from past performance. Over the long term a stock’s value approximates to the discounted value of its dividends, but day-to-day the movements are random. Fama is, of course, talking about individual stocks. The problem is that Willy has tried to apply this to capitalism as a whole, which doesn’t really work. He should read some Shiller.

  3. It seems to me that if you are under 30, or a lefty and you write for national newspapers, it is an essential requirement of your employment that you are as thick as pig-shit.

    Funnily enough, looking to the future is how markets got started. You know, storing things up for winter, and people actually started buying more or less depending on how they thought the price was going to move.

    It reached such sophisticated heights that as late as the 17th century it was illegal to sell short. Hence the phrase “caught short”.

    So, Willy, you’re at least four centuries out of date, which is a little excessive, even for one such as you.

  4. “So, left to itself, capitalism will neglect both the future and the cohesion of the society in which it trades.”

    Regardless of his ignorance of capitalism, this is where the indolence lies, because only lefties like him suggest that capitalism is anything to do with “social cohesion” (whatever the f*ck that is), in fact it is the free-market argument (given after his claptrap) that interference by governments and various do-gooders under the misapprehension they are somehow linked is what causes the problem.

    If you want to write a well balanced article on whether something serves “public interest” you could start with either (a) the government, or (b) shit-stirring little arse-wipes masquerading as journalists.

  5. ” if you are under 30, or a lefty and you write for national newspapers, it is an essential requirement of your employment that you are as thick as pig-shit.”
    Pretty well a guaranteed outcome of a university education. Particularly Oxbridge. And as media peeps exclusively recruit from folk just like themselves, there’s very little hope of reality seeping into a closed system.
    A chuckle was being had on an earlier thread at the expense of Sunny Hundal, but there you have it writ large. The ignorant educating the vulnerable.
    And Tim referenced this prat was once a stockbroker. Doesn’t surprise me in the least. That was once a profession staffed with hard-nosed realists, Even the mail clerks would have absorbed markets are future looking. But that was in the days when few brokers had paper qualifications. Why they were brokers. One of the few professions you could get into without any. From what I’ve seen of the underlying causes of recent disasters, the whole of the ’08 thing for a start, the old breed simply wouldn’t have fallen for it. One rule you learned. When everyone’s saying the same thing & calling you an idiot for thinking different, be afraid, be very afraid. They’re all wrong..

  6. @ bis
    “Particularly Oxbridge.”
    Will Hutton attended Bristol University (as you could see just by glancing at his Wikipedia entry). It is particularly unwise to get your basic fact wrong when you are complaining about someone else’s stupidity.

  7. Ugh… that piece by Hutton is enough to drive a man to drink.

    The problem is simple. The dynamics of today’s electricity and gas markets do not create companies or business strategies in which public interest objectives and social obligations are sufficiently prioritised.

    What the hell is that? I’ll let Hutton tell us what he considers these “public interest objectives” and “social obligations” to be.

    I would have thought that their objectives and obligations are to provide the gas and electric their customers have signed up to receive and pay for.

    Despite numerous spanners being thrown in the works, they continue to do that (just).

    Or does the enormous task of providing energy for every building in Britain count for nothing?

    Effective capitalism requires careful design and organisation, along with firms that combine a business and social purpose.

    I mean… where do you begin with bollocks like that?

    Banking learnt this lesson: energy companies are next in line. What we should embrace is the revival of the mixed economy – a precondition for a return to the prosperity and productivity that was sacrificed on the altar of market fundamentalism.

    If Hutton truly believes that the energy markets as they currently operate are “capitalism” at work, he’s off his rocker.

    From what I can gather, there are tax rates of up to 81% at the generation level and the usual tax rates at supply level with additional “green taxes” on top and no doubt all kinds of regulations at every stage.

    This is very much a “mixed economy” but it is quite clear which political philosophy contributes the greater component of the mix and Hutton seemingly wants more of it.

  8. @John77
    I don’t remember suggesting Hutton did attend Oxbridge. I only cite those cities as producing the flowering pinacle of modern ignorance. No doubt Bristol contributes to the sum of confusion in its own small way.

  9. Anthem

    “If Hutton truly believes that the energy markets as they currently operate are “capitalism” at work, he’s off his rocker.”

    You misunderstand how the ‘left’ identifies capitalism at work. They do not look at the overall framework and structure of the UK power market with all the various goverment & EU regulations etc and say ‘ah ha, capitalism!’

    Instead, they look at the outcome, rising power prices, and as there belief is that capitalism results in a worse state for the working man, it must, can only be, caused the capitalism.

    Therefor capitalism is to blame and no amount of explaining the actual cause is worth a hill of beans. It’s an open and shut case.

    This also allows for these same people to demand higher green taxes on energy in the same breath as screaming about rising energy prices.

  10. You also have to remember that leftists have a strong belief that profits are much higher than they really are, and thus that any costs imposed on businesses do not get passed on to the customer but instead come out of those profits.

  11. Teaching socialism to the young–either teenagers or younger–needs to be classified as a form of paedophile activity. Turn the left’s weapons back on themselves.

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