December 23, 2016

Martin Wolf, concerned about our young’s future, praises risk-taking culture. Is this change of mind permanent?

Sir, Martin Wolf writes: “With an ageing population, power is over-concentrated in the hands of the old… The solution is to give parents votes on behalf of minor children.” “Ageing Big Ben’s timely reminder that our political system needs repair” December 23.

In February 2007, in a letter responding to an article in FT by Christopher Caldwell titled “Why the ‘right of the children’ is a juvenile concept”, and based on an Op-Ed I published in Venezuela, I wrote: “If the average life length of a person in UK were 80 and our democracies had anything to do with representation of interests, as in companies, then a new born should have 80 votes, a middle age 56 year old like me 24 votes and someone over eighty should count his blessings if he is allowed to keep his single vote. Of course the previous is clearly just an exaggeration, but it serves to argue in favor of the one-child-one-vote concept, in which the votes of the children are to be exercised by their mother, father or older siblings.”

Wolf, in praise of Big Ben and those responsible for it “George Airy, astronomer royal, [and] Edmund Beckett Denison (later Baron Grimthorpe) also writes: “For an amateur to have won such an important commission tells us much about the risk-taking culture of the high Victorians, as does the innovative nature of his unprecedentedly accurate clock.”

What is this? Martin Wolf suddenly thinking of empowering the young and praising a “risk-taking culture”? I ask because for too long Wolf has refused to support my argument that current risk adverse bank regulations, with their risk weighted capital requirements, has the banks only refinancing the “safer” past and present, and not the “riskier” future our young ones need to be financed, so that they don’t have to stay in their parents’ basements, until these pass away.

PS. I am not really sure about: “The future of a country managed for the benefit of the past, cannot be not bright.” Is it my English that is lacking, a typo or just a Freudian slip? Per Kurowski