A new year rarely triggers a change in the business and investment environment. Trends don’t alter merely because a new calendar is hung on the office wall. The sum of all the annual punditry about the 12 months ahead is typically to predict more of the same, an inevitable consequence of efficient markets and the fragile science that is economics.
Time was, not so long ago, when investment analysts, strategists and economists were among the most highly prized beasts in the financial jungle. Investment banks built their businesses on the reputations of their spreadsheet stars — individuals highly ranked in client surveys, with commensurate clout in annual bonus negotiations with their employers.
Nigel Lawson famously dismissed City economists as “teenage scribblers” in 1988, but their reputations outlived his frustration at their unwillingness to accept his rosy view of his own policies.