Do the ‘Ais’ have it?

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I watched Digby Jones make a typical fool of himself on a news broadcast last night. He argued that he didn't want to sit back in ten years time and realise that all the financial services of world are in what from now on I will call the 'Ais': Shanghai, Dubai and Mumbai.

The man made a fool of himself for three reasons. The first is that he has not appreciated that the reason why these services have failed is simple: no one needs them. The activities that have caused the Crash are a giant Ponzi scheme that were, in the classical form of such schemes, dependent upon pyramid selling. That pyramid has now collapsed. No one will rebuild it: it has been proven to be without foundation.

Second, he does not appreciate that if these places have the services in a decade it will be for fundamentally different reasons: China has the capital, India has people and Dubai will be the home of the looted money of the world.

Third, he still does not realise that when these activities have brought our economy to our knees we should have no desire to recreate them. Isn't that glaringly obvious?

Actually, I'll suggest it's so obvious that the Ais won't want what we have created: they'll realise that we created something wholly worthless in itself, but massively destructive to that which is of worth. And I'm going to credit them with the sense that they'll not go near it with a bargepole.

Pity I can't credit Digby Jones with the same sense. But then as Director General of the CBI he helped promote the market failings that have created this mess. And he still can't see that he made a catastrophic mistake in doing so. Which makes it all the more worrying that Gordon Brown has kept him on his National Economic Council.