Any citizen of the world with a reasonably alert sense of foreboding could not consider the fall in share values, at a six-year record in some cases, in American, European or Asian markets as anything other than worrying.
The all-too-familiar, all-too-regular destruction of wealth has been triggered by investor concern that this era of cheap money has run its course and that we face renewed inflationary pressures.
Last Friday’s figures from America showing an annual growth rate in wages of 2.9%, the highest in a decade, was a catalyst. Higher wages follow economic recovery so it seems perverse that markets have taken fright just as growth
forecasts become more optimistic.
Once again, the markets show they are not as connected to the day-to-day as might be imagined. They are always more interested in the next race than the one just leaving the stalls.
There have been suggestions that this fall is an entirely rational realignment of values up by 40% since the election of President Trump and that markets will soon stabilise.
Any citizen of the world with a sharp sense of foreboding will wonder how Mr Trump, a Chapter 11 bankrupt six times, might respond to this market slide which will, yet again, grind down the pensions and salaries of ordinary people and reduce consumer demand. In this very real context, optimism is, all of a sudden, a very precious jewel.
Any citizen of the world with a big-picture sense of foreboding might conflate falling markets, a “really great, world-class” but Canutian intervention from Mr Trump and Britain’s ever-louder chorus of the unhinged suggesting that Jacob Rees-Mogg, or worse if that can be imagined, Boris Johnson might soon replace Theresa May as prime minister of their imploding, increasingly divided country.
The prospect of either in 10 Downing St is as chilling as it is laughable.
One has Trump’s shameless contempt for truth and the other has been, in the House of Commons, described as the “honourable member for the 18th century”. Have British politics really fallen to such a low, Monty Python-esque ebb?
A year ago the prospect of prime minister Jeremy Corbyn was used as something like a threat stitched into a bedtime story for a naughty child but all of a sudden it seems as if he and Labour may have to save Britain from the hard-right disguised in double-breasted preposterousness.
Should either replace May and, as has been suggested, console the other by making him chancellor of the exchequer, a no-deal Brexit catastrophe is all but assured.
A cabal of nasty, arrogant to the core Little Englanders free to fantasise because they go unchallenged by the majority of Conservatives — or their £1bn-bung DUP life support service — would secure and use influence far, far beyond their mandate.
Any citizen of Ireland with even a latent sense of foreboding must be concerned that we may be sandwiched between Trump’s America and Rees Moggs’ or Johnson’s Britain. That concern is deepened by the fact that America and Britain are our two largest export markets.
We may, once again, become dependent on the kindness of strangers but this time for reasons far beyond our control.