Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Books and Quotes

When I was a part-time student, and unemployed, I used to spend my days studying, reading and applying for the occasional job. One of the books I read was The Bombardiers by Po Bronson. As high powered romps go it went. If you're interested it's about bond traders and the publisher's blurb says
"the sales manager [is] so overwhelmed by corporate ambition that he forces his traders to sell more bonds than they can handle. As the deals swirl, faster and riskier and bigger, the transactions become increasingly bizarre: shifting around the debt of failed savings and loans, financing investment in bankrupt Eastern European nations, and, finally, arranging a corporate takeover of certain assets in the Dominican Republic (in this case, the entire country)."
Anyway the story is not the point of this post. Trawling through a box of index cards I found this, taken from the book.
  1. Knowledge is Power!
  2. Knowledge is not a candy bar.
  3. Word travels fast.
  4. Power is temporary.
It purports to be a summary of Information Economics. As a summary it seems to work. I post this because I saw recently someone arguing that the Bank of England should have kept its deal with Northern Rock secret to stop depositors worrying and starting a run on the bank.

Is it good for public bodies to keep their major deals secret? Or is it a part of an older more circumspect way of business that is thankfully gone? Openness in government is a good thing. Let's have more of it.

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