At the End of the Day

mesnip30716In a themed edition tonight, The Slog asks once again if there is any correlation between levels of education/IQ, and fitness for purpose in a real job. I leave the judgement re this one to your good selves.


Mr Facebook Mark Zuckerberg has apparently had an audience with the Pope. I’m wondering if maybe the Pontiff needs a little advice about his friend-count….only, a few days ago, he tried to be nice to the harder end of Islam the Religion of Peace, and got an abrupt reply along the lines of go stick it up your cassock. Whether Mohammed has unfriended the man in the Vatican is unclear, but I think we can assume they won’t be exchanging Ramadan cards any time soon.

Zuckerberg was educated at Harvard, and has probably done more than any other single individual to hand the keys to your private life to Big Brother. Mind you, he has also made himself 62.3 billion bucks.


Although I’m not a fan at all of Michael Gove, he did strike exactly the right chord during the Referendum campaign when he expressed his distrust of experts.

Not surprisingly, the knee-jerk Left took this as evidence that here was yet another Brexit amateur leading Britain over a cliff of economic disaster as a result of which all their children would be sold into slavery. In fact, he was referring specifically to the predictions of doom being issued by 250 economists. Even the rabidly pro-EU Financial Times is now finally coming round to the view that maybe these visions of impending Pompeii were a tad overstated.

However, there is a far more important element in this question: I suspect Gove was actually suggesting that not every person being announced as an expert is really an expert at all.

I remember in 2007 getting a bit sick of hearing that Gordon Brown was our Greatest Ever Chancellor. So I Googled and delved and rang and asked around, and eventually traced the description back to an Observer interview with Brooon in 1999 – in which he said that his ambition was to be remembered as our Greatest Ever Chancellor. It would be reassuring to conclude that Gordon’s was a self-fulfilling wish, except that of course he turned out to be our Smuggest Ever Chancellor – the man who claimed to have banished boom and bust, and just six months before one of the biggest financial crashes in history told the Commons he was “delivering a Budget for longterm stability”. A year later, Britain’s national debt obligations had doubled.

Calling someone an economics expert is just the same as calling somebody an expert in military strategy, sub-atomic physics or neuroanatomy. The truth is that every self-styled form of expertise can be overtaken in a trice by one contrarian idea or new discovery. Ever since the NASA Voyager mission started calling in on one planet after another is our solar system, experts on everything from Saturn’s moons to Neptune’s weight have been proved wrong. At the moment, every military ‘expert’ is having to come to grips with the discovery of graphene, and every brain anatomist with the discovery of cerebral plasticity.

But Gove was I think going a stage beyond this, and referring to self-appointed experts who don’t even have the speed of contemporary advance as an excuse. People, oddly enough, like George Osborne (fiscal expert), Hillary Clinton (foreign policy expert), Theresa May (security expert), Jeremy Hunt (health provision expert) and Iain Duncan-Smith (welfare expert).

Michael Gove was right: ‘expert’ as a descriptor is no guarantee of reliability when it comes to the much-vaunted opinion. All of which leaves me wondering whether he was any kind of educational expert.


Tony Blair ‘blamed’ the Brexit referendum result on people who were ‘uneducated’. By any standards, Ed Balls is extremely well educated and covered in degrees. Read this opinion from Mr Balls just months before the UK banking collapse:

ballssnip

Sleep well: your future is in the hands of experts.


 

25 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Expert texpert choking smokers
    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you? (Ho ho ho! He he he! Ha ha ha!)
    See how they smile like pigs in a sty, see how they snied
    I’m crying……

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  2. As I have commented previously, I became aware in the mid eighties that most ‘experts’ and ‘professionals’ below the age of forty were severely lacking. Put simply, they could talk at great length about the product, equipment, service or whatever they were promoting but their knowledge was in truth only superficial. Ask for anything more in depth or tangential and they floundered while the older generation were more than able to explain the deepest technical points and swiftly extrapolate into tangential questions when asked. If anything it has deteriorated even more since.

    As to Ministers and Civil Servants, they too are most unlikely to have any real technical understanding, they have a cobbled together superficial knowledge, enough for Brown, for instance, to come out with his, “Our new economic approach is rooted in ideas which stress the importance of macro-economics, post neo-classical endogenous growth theory and the symbiotic relationships between growth and investment, and people and infrastructure” spiel, attempting to ‘prove’ his credentials. In reality they do the bidding of whoever has their ear, all too often a crony who has no more innate understanding than themselves, a paid lobbyist or the people that are best at stroking their already inflated ego.

    In another example I recall our local ‘specialist diabetic nurse’ telling my father that he must be doing his tests wrong and that ‘their’ tests showed his sugar levels to be acceptable and not the extremely high results he was getting. This when you could smell the ketones in his breath across the room and before bleeds in his eyes left him functionally blind. She was an ‘expert’ yoiu see.

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  3. Experts have over time told us that Kings are gods,the Earth was flat,& the centre of the universe,that arsenic and blood letting was good for us!that lining up in red coats and standing face to face firing shot at each other was a good way to wage war!the list is endless of false experts ,you can take that last statement has right from a expert!

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  4. Let’s just ask – who grants these ‘experts’ credibilty? Education is controlled and us minions are fed whatever we are expected to believe. In the field of history, science, economics, medicine, politics, we’re fed a narrative, maintained by the perceived ‘expert’ who, at best believes what they say or worse, is bought and paid for by our glorious Establishment. Anyone, no matter how credible outside of this Establishment, who provides contrary evidence is ridiculed or marginalised in order to maintain this plastic, propaganda filled reality.

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  5. When you look at the qualifications of politicians and the roles they play, it becomes really scary.Would you give your local plumber the same powers? or an electrician the launch codes to initiate WW3? It is hardly surprising the world is in such a dire straight. Perhaps politicians should be made to serve a long training period before they are allowed to practise their arcane arts on the gullible, unsuspecting public. A measure of accountability and the ability to impose sanctions on them may also rein them in a little.

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  6. iain i would like to see more plumbers etc in parliament,i think that is what as led to the standard with the £500 tax to stand falling to this very low level!

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  7. And with experts come their hubris, like Alan Greenspan for example.

    “I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you’ve probably misunderstood what I’ve said.”

    “I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”

    DavidC

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  8. [Off Topic]

    Is it my connection, only half the times I visit Russia Today’s website, there’s a network error. There are those who are less persistent who would be put off by this kind of “problem”.

    It would seem that the Americans want us to face the Telegraph’s paywall instead ;)

    (Which is easy enough to get around).

    It amazes me that only the British newspaper archives lie behind a paywall. The other European newspaper archives I visit are all free to use. I guess it’s how a country regards their democratic freedoms…

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  9. @Gemma – individuals can withold their subscriptions to big corporations and encourage others to do the same. There are a lot of big beasts out there so it may take a long time for them to wither away, as is explained in:
    “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires – Paperback – 1 Jan 2012 by Tim Wu”

    To paraphrase Jean Jaques Rosseau – “Man is born free but is everywhere in Paper chains……

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  10. Stephenroi,

    that doesn’t answer the question as to why European newspaper archives are free to users and British ones lie behind a paywall.

    It’s not so much that an individual can withhold their subscription… but they have the opportunity to withhold that subscription because a paywall exists in the first place!

    It’s not so much that information has been employed to create empires, it’s more that information has a shelf-life (as it were). Fresh information has a cash value in our modern society; old information loses that cash value very swiftly. It is one thing to ask to be paid to bring you new information, it is quite another to demand money for information that is well over a century old.

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  11. Sorry ! paywalls !!! means the work is that important that it shouldn’t be in the public domain,because joe public will show it up for the garbage it is in two seconds, ps sorry if anyone appears but it disappeared in two nano secs before,hence the test!

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  12. The controlled content of media publications … the neocons do not seem to realise people are dumping it as junk.
    Hey look at this from the MSM … why bother it’s junk … hence the power of the neocon dies.

    OT but thought people might like a wry smile …

    On BREMAIN … ooo we can’t leave just think how difficult it would make currency exchange.
    On BREXIT … Scotland = Cumbernauld will be ditching the UK then thats a +.

    If we had issued article 50 my parcel that I was hoping to receive today WOULD NOT have been incorrectly sent to Cumbernauld in Scotland by UPS and the only information is it will take at “least” one working day to correct. A days pay on the minimimum wage is?

    Another bonus for BREXIT, cya Scotland you can go with the EU then my parcels have one less wrong place to go.

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  13. JW

    if the Telegraph demands payment after reading the first article, does that not count as a paywall?

    A wall is a wall, wherever it’s situated – and its function remains the same.

    The other point is more pertinent: why do European newspaper networks not have a paywall on their archives?

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  14. Balls is connected to the NWO this is why he was invited to Bilderberg meetings when he was in office. Dope Francis has called for world government, open borders and carbon taxes he was put in the job by the NWO, why dont Catholics see he’s a phoney.

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  15. What I think you need to do is to distinguish between expert knowledge and what they do with it. Scientists ARE experts at science, but along with the territory of being an expert scientist is an acceptance that you put yourself up to be wrong every time you design and carry out an experiment. Of course, there are times in your scientific career where you reduce that risk hugely, having been fortunate enough to have found a mid-term franchise that no-one else can invade. That gives you the chance to publish gazillions of papers without really ever been wrong, but what you are really doing then is filling in details rather than risking everything on a new formulation.

    Money men in the City ARE experts in how the City works, which is not the same thing as wanting the masses to get better off. They are expert in knowing how to make money through manipulating market sentiment, which is hugely different to being a good medium-term picker of value investments. As investors always seek the best time for entry and exit from an investment, it may be in their interests to talk down the economy or particular sectors to allow their investments to occur at a suitably low price……just as it will be in their interests to have the sectors of their investments talked up prior to selling them……

    AS for economists, well, they tend to deal in things like GDP and interest rates, which is not the same as what the cost of living is for the bottom 30% of the country, especially those living in places like Workington, Rochdale, Cleethorpes, Hartlepool or Hastings. What they say may be superficially true whilst absolutely false for individual groups of electors. When was the last time you heard an economist give a segmental breakdown of economic prospects for: the top 1%; the top 20% in the SE of England; the median 50% in the SE; the median 50% in the rest of the country; the bottom 20% in London; and the bottom 20% in the rest of the country? Never, I suspect. Well, it is that kind of analysis which is more likely to correlate with democratic voting outcomes, because the majority of voters will vote in their own narrow interests.

    AS for politicians, they are good at getting re-elected. That’s in their own self-interest, as they don’t get paid if they lose their seat. The Ministers take a pay cut of up to 50% if they lose office but retain their seat. And the PM has to move house at very short notice if they lose office. So their statements are geared to getting re-elected, which is a very different thing to telling the truth, isn’t it?

    Consultant doctors are driven by keeping their jobs, getting paid well and not having to work too many nights, if possible. Whilst they could earn more in the private sector, not all doctors are entrepreneurial risk takers (I’m rather glad about that, as killing patients isn’t really a KPI I want any entrepreneurial doctors to be scoring too highly on…..), in fact many are obsessive-compulsive neurotics who have found a healthy niche in society because their neurotic OCD behaviour means that they ensure that almost no-one dies unnecessarily on their watch. That’s usually a good trait for a doctor. But it does mean that they can be brutal to anyone who threatens their beloved NHS and the strength of that Union behaviour is far greater than that of the miners ever was. As they are filled with MI5/6 spooks, they have key access to all kinds of information doctors shouldn’t have access to and they aren’t afraid to use it rather more often than a tolerant society should tolerate, I”m afraid……

    Journalists are skilled at selling newspapers (20th century) or driving click thrus (21st century online media). They have a loose relationship with the truth and are also completely riddled with spooks. If every UK citizen assumed that 50% of ‘journalists’ were in fact either MI5/6 operatives or taking orders from them, they would know how to evaluate what is written in the Press. It wouldn’t happen if the death sentence were imposed on editors and journalists who knowing printed pathological lies three times in ways which led to deaths abroad, notably currently in the Middle East, in Ukraine or in Afghanistan. But as there is never a punishment for lying journalists and lying editors, the general public should never trust what they say. Ever.

    One thing I’ve learned about those who ‘reach the top’ ‘are ambitious’ etc is that they are very keen to destroy those who genuinely want to do something to benefit broader society. This is because most who reach the top have done so in ways that crush large numbers of people and they would thus see their narrow selfish lifestyles threatened as a result. I’ve seen that in medical research, in the media, in consultancy, in financial services and sports professionals. I’m sure it’s true most other places too.

    So the fundamental question you always have to ask about ‘experts’ is this: do they have you, the majority of ordinary citizens very high up their list of priorities when opening their mouths?

    Until you answer that question with a yes, you should ask simply: ‘why are my interests served by trusting what they say?’

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