Friday, August 29, 2008

Nationalist economics

From the Scotsman:
"BANKS should treat Scottish customers more favourably than their English counterparts because the housing market in Scotland is more resilient, the SNP housing minister has said.

Stewart Maxwell said he would "encourage" any moves by mortgage lenders to take into account the fact Scotland's housing market has not been hit as hard by the credit crunch as England."
Here's the thing. I've done some economics. I have to confess the whole experience made my head hurt. But I still think, perhaps wrongly, that I managed to pick up a couple of points. One would be - now correct me if I'm wrong - but if the Scottish market is really more buoyant than the English market, this'll have something to do with a slightly greater propensity on the part of banks to lend, which in turn is based on a perception of their customers' ability to repay? This makes the market more 'buoyant', by which is meant, one presumes, that house prices are still rising, or falling less quickly, than they are in England.

I'm not quite getting why this means banks should treat Scottish customers more favourably? For one, the likely future value of one's property is a separate issue from one's ability to pay off your loan in the present, no? And none of this can be reduced to a matter of ethnicity or residency - because this would be to commit the ecological fallacy, would it not? Or am I missing something? Alex Salmond used to be an economist for a bank or something. Perhaps either he or one of his supporters could explain this to me.

While they're at it, they could also do with explaining the whole Saltires on trains, stations not being blue enough thing and shit like that. They think the problem is not that the trains are late, too expensive, dirty, full of fucking neds, infrequent, don't take you where you want to go. No, they aren't blue with white crosses on them and the stations aren't blue enough. Oh how frequently this thought has crossed my mind whilst waiting for a train. "This station", I often think, "just isn't blue enough."

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