Andy Zaltzman - Invisible Hand

Season 3, Ep 6 08/24/2012 Views: 11,262

Andy Zaltzman describes the problem in 18th century celebrity economist Adam Smith's theory. (1:54)

I think, um, we've also learnedthe dangers of a lack of

regulation of the financialmarkets-- and there simply are

not enough jokes that startwith that as a setup line.

Adam Smith, the 18th centurycelebrity Scottish economist

and... please pay attention,people.

I have read nearly all ofAdam Smith's Wikipedia entry.

Adam Smith, he wrote aboutthe invisible hand that's

supposed to guide the financialmarkets of the world so you

don't need too much stateinterferences nudging things

in the right direction,

kind of self-regulating,but never enforced.

Now, this is all very well intheory but there's a problem

with this and I think we allhave to ask ourselves,

ask ourselves a question.

Do try to be honest withyourself as you answer it.

If you had an invisible hand,what would you do with it?

Here we see the problemin the system we've been

relying on, people.

Fundamental human nature.

We would steal things, wewould flip invisible birds at

people we don't like and wewould grope stuff and that is

exactly what our financialmarkets have been doing.

Almost all the money in theworld is borrowed.

When you take $10 from yourATM,

your bank will have borrowedit off a bank who'll have

borrowed it off another bankwho'll have borrowed it from

a convincing-looking manin a suit... who'll have

borrowed it off the IMFwho'll have borrowed it off

Albert pool halls and so on andso on.

So when you take your $10from your ATM,

what you are essentiallygetting is homeopathic money.

It has barely a trace of theoriginal cash left but some

absolute nut case hasinsisted it still works

exactly the same.

So... you just know, kind oflooking at the state of the

American economy, theEuropean economies across the

world, you just know thatChina is sitting back, saying

to itself, "well, this isturning out to be a [bleep]

"of a lot easier than wethought it was going to be."