Mr MINT is Brilliannnt!

Goldman Sachs. The Vampire Squid. The people who invented toxic, mortgage-‘backed’ bullshit securities then bet against the customers they were selling them to.

The c**ts who doubtless love the NSA for its ability to suck up emails with the words ‘Goldman Sachs’, ‘c**ts’ and NSA all in one sentence.

Goldman Sachs whose former employee, economist Jim O’Neill popularised the term BRICs not only for Brazil, Russia, India and China but also as a kind of mantra for the wishful belief that a bunch of emerging economies would imminently heave the stagnating West on to their shoulders and carry us all on to the sunny uplands promised by Progress.

Well, that didn’t go well did it?

But bank-backed, free market fuck-wits economists are famously impervious to their own deep misguidedness – even when the smoking, cratered evidence of it is all around their feet.

So Mr O’Neill is staging a comeback with a phrase borrowed from Fidelity: the MINTs.

He reckons that Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey all have ‘favourable demographics’ for the next 20 years. He writes:

“Could Indonesia do what’s needed to lift the country’s growth rate to 7 percent or more … or would it have to settle for ‘just’ 5 percent?”

Today BBC Radio 4 gave him a whole three quarters of an hour to wander around Mexico, mic in hand, asking much the same question. He visited a plastic brush factory, a (German) car plant and a (Canadian) aerospace fabrication facility.


Each encounter set him bubbling over with such enthusiasm for what economists call ‘potential’ that I couldn’t help thinking of the Brilliant Kid from The Fast Show.

To be fair, he did go to a couple of places blighted by poverty and drug crime (the latter notoriously aided by facilities laid on by the big banks). But you got the impression that he didn’t see anything there that couldn’t be remedied by SNLEHW (Standard Neo Liberal Economist Hand Waving).

The funniest or most cynical segment of the BBC programme was Mr Mint’s visit to Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil companies. Via a fantastic string of energy cliches, we learnt that Mexico is sitting on ship loads of deep-water crude whose pent up riches will magically gush forth at dizzying rates as soon as the state gets out of the way and allows in foreign capital and knowhow.

As in, you know, the Macondo deep-water oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, blamed on those paragons of Western knowhow, Haliburton and BP. And curiously for the man who flogged the BRICs meme so tirelessly, no mention of Brazil’s much vaunted deep offshore oil development, which is turning out to be less of a bonanza than a costly quagmire.

Fat fees

Surely that isn’t because the banks have already made nice fat fees from talking up Brazil’s oil prospects and steering investors towards it – as they did from the Shale Oil Boom-soon-to-be-bust in the US?

Mr O’Neill has only just got started and already the MINTs look like the next BRICs – another set of Brilliannnnt! investment opportunities to be sold to fattened-up investors by the people who brought you Subprime, the War on Drugs (finance dept.) and fracking lease-flipping.

But maybe he knows he can push the MINTs story only so far. One big fat omission from his BBC programme was Mexico’s soaring obesity rate. Diseases arising from excessive chubbiness threaten to flatten Mr O’Neill’s demographic advantage thesis unless someone does something to curb people’s evolutionary vulnerability to peddlers of fatty foods and sugary drinks.

‘Someone’ would be the government. Probably a bit too confusing for Mr MINT, who couldn’t see any contradiction between the government handing its already-dwindling resource revenues to foreign firms with one hand and conjuring up public money for thousands of graduate educators out of thin air with the other.

He thought both ideas were simultaneously Brilliannnnt!

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