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Being economical

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CRISES are a good time for new voices to emerge, for new experts to tell us just where we are, and where we might be going.

I think that is particularly true on the economy. Too much economic commentary is the economics profession talking to itself.

There is presently a need to explain things in much more accessible terms.

I’m afraid to say much of the stuff landing in my inbox falls short of the required standards.

This morning there were the latest figures from the Bank of England on mortgage and credit card borrowing.

What did they show? Well, according to the mortgage broker they showed that people are hot for mortgages. According to the financial advisor, they showed that people are hot for mortgages sold via financial advisors. And according to the pension guru they showed that people are so awash with savings they should start beefing up their pension.

There might be some truth in all of these conclusions, but they were reached rather too conveniently.

The main thrust of the figures seems to be that mortgage approvals plummeted, because the housing market has been more or less closed for business. And that people are paying off less debt than they were before, they just aren’t taking out any new debt.

Last week, a PR fella asked me why I tend to quote the same reliable old sources in economic stories. The answer is in the question mate.

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