If you've taken the trouble to read all my posts under the label Economy, you may have formed an idea that I have been rather impatient and increasingly concerned with the way in which Malaysia's economic managers have been handling things.
To avoid any doubt, whenever I use the phrase economic managers I am referring, in particular, to both Ministers of Finance, the Minister of International Trade and Industry, the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and the Bank Negara governor.
For the economic managers to continuously publicise HISTORICAL ECONOMIC DATA, meaning data collated from three months ago or even further back suggests only 2 possible scenarios:
- First, the theory of caution. In this theory, the economic managers are true believers in the normative side of economics, also called behavourial economics, where mass psychology may be seen as a relevant factor. The word confidence is de riguer in this respect. What the economic managers fail to see is that if the economic boat is tanking it really does not matter that the captain calls for all hands to remain at their stations, the in-rushing waters will sweep even the most loyal hands into the stormy sea.
- Second, theory of ignorance. In this theory, the economic managers are being fed drivel by their economic advisers and data-gathering apparatus. The economic data being gathered may be suspect. The economic data gathered is misunderstood (this is unlikely). There is insufficient expertise to analyse and understand the economic data gathered. The upshot of this is that the blind leads the blind or, more accurately, the blind feed the blind.
In either case, the management of the Malaysian economy looks pretty bad.
It is bad enough that we don't know how and why the Malaysian economy is successful. It is even worse that we don't know how and why the Malaysian economy is going into distress.
The Economic Council which now appears to be a new moniker for the NEAC, is filled with personalities rather than hardcore economists.
With the greatest of respect, how can businessmen and corporate leaders have the skill sets to advice the Malaysian government on the economy? Even I would demur to a seat at the Economic Council (not that they're inviting me) because I do not believe I have the skill sets.
People like etheorist and Sakmongkol may have better claim to a seat at the Economic Council, though I wouldn't mind sitting behind them.
I, somehow, cannot accept that the economic managers are being cautious. More and more, I am inclined to believe that they are ignorant of the economic trends and they have no real advisers to guide them with real options. It is cold comfort for the economic managers to say, Well, even the US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is showing that he has no clue. No. That will not do at all.