Issues of weights and responses

We are forever weighted into a situation, we are always adjusted and often enough we are never one, but anywhere between 0.3 and 25.9. That is the consequence of market research. So when I saw the title ‘You’re wrong Michael Gove – experts are trusted far more than you‘, my initial worry was who these ‘experts’ are. The article (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/09/michael-gove-experts-academics-vote) has a few quotes that are funny to some, hilarious to others and all kinds of BS to another group. I reckon that none of them regard this to be reliable or trustworthy.

Why is that?

when you consider the quote “rarely in British politics has independent, impartial analysis been so necessary“, people might agree that it is a requirement, but whomever is behind those analyses are for the most all working for someone else’s agenda, which makes those claims equally pointless. Let’s illustrate this: “A separate Survation poll for British Future even found that 63% thought economists could be trusted“, the link is there, so let’s take a look.

The laughter should start at slide 2, where we see the question “which of the following best sums up your current voting intention?” the question might seem relevant and the percentages might look good, but the graph is a joke.

– What was the population of that survey?
That is a question that was never given, on none of these pages. It makes the entire paper look like an unreliable joke! A place like Ipsos MORI should know better! And perhaps they do, because they were named regarded another survey, this is done by I know not who. Is that not an interesting fact? I know that Ipsos MORI knows better, because some of them have been my students in the past (if they still work there).

– Were the results weighted and how?
None of these facts made it into that paper, making the results unreliable to the largest of degrees and in addition to that, the fact that the article does not give any clear indication on what is what gives additional reasons for worry.

The people at large are being duped by a media machine that seems to be more profitable to remain connected to the EU, as such, most media options will not give you any decent part of the facts and the truth. So, does this mean that Michael Gove is right?

I feel decently certain that is equally not the case. Most people, especially those connected to politics tend to take an approach towards ‘their’ goals! In that Michael Gove would be no exception. The media is a lot worse in this. It is my personal view that have kept people in the dark of events when it suited either them or their advertisers. How can that be reliable?

As for the ‘economists’, when this system falls apart, most of them will be without a job. As such, what will they preach you think? The older economists all know that no job equals retirements and many of them will soon thereafter no longer be riding the juicy gravy train. Once you have been on that one, we all would do whatever we can to remain part of it. In addition to that, when we look at the so called 63% part. The fact that the answers are Alan Sugar, CEO of a big company, Boss of a small business, a farmer, a fisherman and an economist are part of this is another matter. Was this for ‘light entertainment’, was it serious? If so, was the designer not entirely in a decent state of mind? It could be that these were the most significant groups, but that is speculation because the graph has so much missing information that the entire interpretation of it becomes matter of non-perspective. Just consider that these were the most significant groups, why is there no clarification on the graph? There is so much wrong here that it also makes me question the entire article by Anand Menon and Jonathan Portes. This might be an opinion article, but it is in the Guardian, the Guardian should have followed this up by the Guardian themselves. The fact that Anand is ‘labelled’ as ‘Anand Menon is a director of UK in a Changing Europe’ and Jonathan is labelled as ‘director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and former chief economist at the Cabinet Office’, so are they would be or wannabe politicians? The fact that they ‘rely’ on items from ‘Survation for British Future’ makes this all an issue, it should be an issue for all of you!

There is another quote that needs to be dealt with. The quote “the idea that academics are biased in their research because they get “EU money”. In our careers, we have conducted research funded – usually through competitive tender processes – by the EU, the UK government, companies and trade unions, and never been shy of telling any of them things that they didn’t want to hear. Our professional reputations depend on it” sounds nice, but we can agree that ‘academics’ with their papers regarding the economic viability of Iceland were accepted without question. The evidence was seen in the Oscar awarded documentary Inside Job (2010). It is one of the most visible pieces of evidence, but in no way the strongest one. Another piece of evidence is seen (at https://www.ifw-members.ifw-kiel.de/publications/the-financial-crisis-and-the-systemic-failure-of-academic-economics/KWP_1489_ColanderetalFinancial%20Crisis.pdf), with a clear abstract. Which in part is “The economics profession has failed in communicating the limitations, weaknesses, and even dangers of its preferred models to the public. This state of affairs makes clear the need for a major reorientation of focus in the research economists undertake, as well as for the establishment of an ethical code that would ask economists to understand and communicate the limitations and potential misuses of their models“. You see, a statistician, a politician and a barrister have something in common. They answer a very specific question. Their reaction to that specific question becomes their paper, which we saw in the Iceland situation. In case of the politician we have another element. You see, when the answer doesn’t suit them, they will change the question. That is where we are, we see answers, but the clear questions that leads to them is not in that presentation (or the numbers and weights).

It follows by a reversed psychology quote “if we were self-serving and intent only on personal enrichment, our interest would be very much in a leave vote. If auditors are those who “arrive after the battle and bayonet the wounded” it is professional economists and political scientists (not to mention lawyers) who would rake in the consultancy cash in the uncertain atmosphere of a vote to leave“, it is reverse psychology because the statement is quite the opposite of factual and Brexit could destabilise the Euro, after the UK, France is most likely to leave, which will push Germany out too. That is what they all fear, because when the Euro goes, the Dollar (the US currency) will take a massive dive, well over 30% of economists will be out of a job. There will be no funds for any in any of the so called ‘vulture’ industries. You see, what currency would the consultancy cash be in? There is a realistic danger that the US will lose well over 20% of its value, those who get out and move into their local currency would take no less damage, but after that, the only damage they would take are local based issues. The US with minus 19 trillion would have little option other than default on their loans. It would (speculatively speaking) drive debt from 19 trillion to 23 trillion almost overnight. The timeframe that this impact on is harder to calculate. You see, politically speaking Obama would want to stretch any event to the last day of his administration, so that the mess ends with the next administration, which is also speculation from my side. This would also impact the total US debt, which is speculated to be well over $60 trillion, but a clear reliable number is one I do not have at present.

All these factors will be impacted and Brexit will have a definite impact on all of it. Should you doubt that, do you think that the US president would have made the trip for some remembrance speech involving WW2? Brexit is the real nightmare Wall Street faces. If Brexit was a singular issue, it would not be that big a problem. Yet, that is the one part that is partially a given. You see, this is not a thought that just popped up. I wrote about this in May 2013 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), in the article ‘A noun of non-profit‘, I voiced it as “Consider a large (really large) barge, that barge was kept in place by 4 strong anchors. UK, France, Germany and Italy. Yes, we to do know that most are in shabby state, yet, overall these nations are large, stable and democratic (that matters). They keep the Barge EU afloat in a stable place on the whimsy stormy sea called economy. If the UK walks away, then we have a new situation. None of the other nations have the size and strength of the anchor required and the EU now becomes a less stable place where the barge shifts“, this is the danger Brexit poses. As governments and large corporations have been playing with safety margins, the three anchors will not be able to keep a clear stability. That will cause waves and the EU barge will start to shift all over the economic ocean, impacting all currencies linked to the Euro, the US dollar ending up being hit the hardest. It is a danger governments and economists fear, because their cushy lives will end. In that same frame academics are not equipped to deal with the aftermath. The abstract quote “the limitations and potential misuses of their models”, the question then becomes whether misuses of their models were intentionally allowed for. It is not an accusation, it is a question. I do not claim to have the answer, I am merely asking the clear questions a former chief economist at the Cabinet Office seems to be avoiding in his opinion piece and the Guardian is equally not asking questions on more than one level.

Are you starting to feel the breeze?

This is why I was initially on the Brexit side, I am still not convinced that Brexit is not the solution, but Mark Carney clearly pulled me away from the idea that Brexit is the only solution. It still might, but there will be consequences. You see I believe the UK debt to be manageable, to total debt that the EU is pushing the EU in is not a solution, other than that it takes pressure away from the American debt. Since when is Europe responsible for that? The US has not taken any responsibility for too many events from 2004 onwards. The EU is in another weak position, having one trading partner is one thing, when the US will have to deal separately with UK, Germany and France, these individual nations might get a much better national deal.

One part that remains a given is that there are no assurances. I believe the UK would stand up stronger after a few years and there will be hardship for that time, hardship for a lot of people, yet at present there is absolutely no evidence that the quality of life in the UK is improving, most models are speculative and after a year they end up showing to be inaccurate. That is also the side that requires additional addressing. Even though we should not act on our needs, it ends up what people do, economists and non-economists alike.

Which gives us the final quote “but if the public is better informed than it otherwise would be about one of the most important issues in this campaign, we’ll have done our job“, which is the one thing they did not do, basically they misinformed you, because the numbers without proper support of numbers are empty and pointless. You see, if the question was given to 2-3 thousand people it should not count towards the choice of 68 million people. Weighted, the chance of unbalanced clustering is too large to consider, meaning that these numbers should be regarded as highly unreliable. In my opinion, the article misinformed you, showing that everyone has an agenda. I can only personally state that I have no agenda and you would not be wrong to ignore that part. Believe me or choose to not believe me. I only hope that you will look at what is presented and question every part you see. Let’s take one more look to the initial evidence that the writers used. In the first (at https://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/ipsos-mori-business-and-brexit.pdf), the Ipsos MORI part. In the second (at http://www.britishfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/The-EU-referendum-and-public-trust_Survation-for-British-Future-2015.pdf). We can clearly see that the Ipsos MORI gives much better (being it incomplete) information. Slide 6 does show a nice part, Journalists and Politicians are at the bottom of trustworthiness. Yet without clear response numbers and weighting, this data is not reliable enough and the vote might take a different direction in the end. In my view, the power used here is to use the numbers to sway the undecided into the direction they want them to go, into the Bremain direction. Can I prove it? No!

But I am asking questions regarding this that those who should aren’t. I personally believe that makes my view more reliable, but I am biased here. Make sure you ask the right questions and it seems that there is nearly no one left to trust in this matter, isn’t that the saddest part of all in this?

 

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