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December 6, 2012
December 6, 2012

Notes on finances (and chimpanzees)

Source: Visão  Category: On the crisis
This article is also available in: elesfrpt-pt
Notes on finances (and chimpanzees)

Vítor Gaspar, Portuguese Minister of Finances

After reflecting a little on the subject, it occurred to me that perhaps it would be important if someone presented Vítor Gaspar [Portuguese Minister of Finances] to a human being.

It could be a private meeting, only the two of them, having a third party that would just do the honours: “Vítor, this is a human being. Human, this is Vítor.” And then they will be left alone, making acquaintances for a little while.

Shrewd as he is, the minister would notice that between a human being and a digit there are two or three differences. Unlike a digit, the human being rarely appears in excel sheets. And unlike a human being, the digit does not starve or die.

It is rare to find engraved in a graveyard’s tombstone an inscription saying: “Here lays the digit number 7. It died following a multiplication error. Rest his soul in peace”. As soon as the minister perceived the difference between a human being and the numbers, he could return to its calculation sheets. I admit that this is quite a daring experiment, but I would like to see it.

There was a time when those who did not know economics would be excluded from any political discussion. Fortunately, such a time is over. Nowadays, those who know economics are the first to get all the calculations wrong, fail every forecast, and aggravate problems that could be solved.

The propositions of a non-expert might be absurd, unrealistic and unviable. No problem: the ones from our minister are as well. Everyone is on equal terms.

If a chimp was a Minister of Finances, perhaps the debt would increase, unemployment would rise and recession would deepen. In other words, no one would notice.

As everyone else, me too I have some suggestions to reduce the expenses. I propose that Portugal sells the highway to Porto. We have three, and we don´t need all of them. There must some country interested in a highway to Porto. There is no highway to Porto in Canada, for example. Nor in Norway. (I did confirm these data.) These are wealthy countries, for whom a highway to Porto may be practical. This is my proposal. And it is not the most absurd one that I have seen.


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