#10 – Mr BRICs

Jim O'Neil cartoon -BTBS

Former Goldman, Sachs partner, Jim O’Neill, or more properly, Lord O’Neill, is best known as the man who coined the term BRICs. He correctly identified that this group of emerging markets would drive global growth and published a paper on it over 20 years ago. In this wide discussion, we talk about the BRICs, about why for the first time in 30 years of close study of the country, he is puzzled on Chinese policy, and what inevitably lower Chinese growth means for the global economy.  

Of course we discuss his beloved Manchester United, kids’ education, a cause close to both our hearts, and how his involvement in the anti microbial review, leading to the publication of the book  Superbugs was the most interesting work he has ever undertaken.

Jim is quite critical of central banks who he thinks are behind the curve and he gives his assessment of the long term outlook for inflation. Listen to the end to learn why he calls himself a spoilt brat.

SUMMARY

In this wide ranging interview, Jim talks about the unlikely progression of a kid from a comprehensive school in a poor area made it to Partner at Goldman Sachs; how he got involved in looking at Superbugs and the risks he identified; the problems facing China; why the BRICs may have a better decade after a weaker time, China aside, in the last 10 years; why inflation may not be here to stay; and he finishes with an elegant and radical idea for Governments anxious about debt levels and the need to stimulate growth.

INTRODUCTION

Jim came from quite a poor background and his father, who had left school at 14, was intent on his 4 children going to University. Without that impetus, Jim might never have gone to Goldman, Sachs but would happily have spent his time playing football.

GETTING INTO INVESTING

Like many of the highly successful investors and commentators we have hosted on the podcast, Jim ended up in finance by chance. Yet he joined Goldmans as a partner and stayed for 19 years. He says in the podcast that the life of a partner is generally 10 years - it’s a highly competitive environment.

CHINA

Jim has closely followed China for 30 years and this is the first time that he doesn’t understand China policy. Aside from the Evergrande fallout, which clearly represents a risk, given the reliance of the economy directly and indirectly on residential property speculation, he cites

  • the regulatory clampdown on the private sector, including notably the or profit education sector, which is dampening appetite for risk-taking

  • the zero-Covid policy which is much more difficult to implement and maintain with the faster spreading Omicron variant and will need to be relaxed at some point

China is the only BRICs country to deliver Jim’s Goldman Sachs predictions in 2001. Why these policies are being implemented now is a question.

SUPERBUGS

Jim was asked to chair the Anti Microbial Review, and he says it was the most interesting thing he has done in his life. The final report had 29 recommended interventions, which at a cost of $42bn would prevent a potential disaster – the alternative was that by 2050, 10 million people could die and an economic loss of $100tn if we don’t develop the new antibiotics and vaccines.

One of the recommendations was better personal cleanliness, notably washing hands and much greater use of vaccines – big pharma has inadequate economic incentives to develop vaccines and antibiotics. Jim cites insufficient application of “profit with purpose”.

MANCHESTER UNITED

A lifelong fervent fan, Jim was one of the Red Knights, a group which looked at an acquisition of the club over 10 years ago (although I am not sure that the group’s composition has been officially acknowledged). Like many fans, he is bitterly opposed to the current ownership of the club and gets mild consolation for the fact that investors have suffered as much as the club’s supporters as they shares have tracked sideways since the IPO, in sharp contrast to other comparable global media properties. The chart below is to the day of the recording of the podcast and shows that the stock is down 13% in dollars although it would be up 8% in sterling terms. The S&P 500 index has trebled in the same period.

Source: BTBS from Sentieo data

SHINE CHARITY

Jim is a co-founder and a trustee of charity SHINE. It is an education charity that works with teachers, schools, and other organisations, helping disadvantaged children in the North of England to fulfill their true potential. It started out helping schools in disadvantaged areas of London and achieved considerable success so moved north – obviously helping the north of England is another of Jim’s priorities as he is has been heavily involved in the UK’s Northern Powerhouse and various other roles related to the Government’s so-called levelling-up agenda.

Children’s education is a cause close to my heart and the podcast is dedicated to the FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign, FT FLIC. If you enjoy the podcast, please take 5 minutes and donate to either or both these great charities – even a small contribution helps. Chances are that if you are reading this, you have received a decent education and it has helped your career – everybody deserves that start. Thank-you!

INFLATION

Jim believes that inflation is policy dependent and that in the UK we don’t need QE and should have higher short rates. He was taught that rates should be equivalent to nominal GDP so 2% would be appropriate. But we may not have inflation forever, the quality of the economic debate is dumbed down by the 24/7 news cycle. He uses the University of Michigan 5 Year Inflation Expectations as his best guide, as seen in the chart below:

Source: University of Michigan, University of Michigan: Inflation Expectation [MICH], retrieved from FRED, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MICH, February 25, 2022.

ABOUT JIM O’NEILL

Jim O’Neill is an internationally published economist, and until 2013 was Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, having previously been the organisation’s Head of Economic Research.

Jim is best-known for his work in relation to developing economies, having coined the term BRICs in 2001 as an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China foreseeing the radical shift in global economic power away from the established western economies towards these rapidly-expanding economies. Since then, Jim’s work has shone a light on the development of the next wave of emerging economies, including the ‘MINTs’ – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Thailand. He left GS in 2013 – I met him there on his last day and since then he has done various voluntary work.

This includes work for the UK Government as the Commercial Secretary of the Treasury and leading the work for the Government on the Northern Powerhouse, city devolution and infrastructure.

He also sits on an array of think tanks. He is Chair of Chatham House, sits on the QFINANCE Strategic Advisory Board, is a member of the board of Bruegel, the European think tank for international economics, sat on the economic advisory board to the IFC, the investing arm of the World Bank. He is one of the founding trustees of the UK educational charity, SHINE and serves on the board of ‘Teach for All’ and a number of other charities specialising in education.

O’Neill is chairman of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership Advisory Board, which advises on the growth of the Greater Manchester economy.

Jim+O'Neill

Source: Wikipedia

He is an avid Manchester United fan, and served as a non-executive director from 2004 to 2005, before the club was returned to private ownership. In 2010, he was one of the Red Knights, a group of wealthy Manchester United fans which confirmed interest in a possible takeover of the club.

In May 2015 he was made a Life Peer to the House of Lords. His is the longest CV I have ever read and I have omitted much in the cause of brevity. Apologies if I have omitted something important.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION

Jim recommended that aspiring economists should read The Economist rather than a book, but when pressed, suggested Macro Economics by Rudiger Dornbusch and Stanley Fisher. Not being added to my reading list, but Jim probably thought I was asking for a text book.

Macroeconomics

HOW STEVE KNOWS THE GUESTS

I met Jim for the first time on his last day at Goldmans. I had requested a meeting as I was doing some work on football finances, at the behest of my pal Tim Keogh, then a partner at April Strategy. The two of us built an app looking at football teams’ finances (video below), as we thought the introduction of the Financial Fair Play rules might mean something. Tim is a genius at visualisation and we scored football teams not just on points for games and financial performance but in metrics like how many goals you would see at home games per pound of season ticket.

Tesco nearly commissioned us to do something similar to help their shop staff understand how the business was faring but you know what happened next at Tesco. I still think there is huge scope for companies to improve their financial performance narrative by being much more creative and would love to resuscitate that project.

Still from our Footy Finance App

Anyway, Jim was interested in the project and to see the app – many were, one hedge fund manager wanted to buy it! We had an enjoyable chat and have had occasional contact since. I read Jim’s article on China in Project Syndicate and asked him if he would discuss it with me on the podcast and he kindly made room in his hectic schedule.

A video run through of the app is below – it’s fun, check it out, especially if you are a company CEO or CFO wanting to communicate your finanical performance more effectively to the workforce – we can help.

Chapters

00:01 – Introduction to Behind the Balance Sheet

05:58 – From Comprehensive School to Goldman Sachs

12:56 – Manchester United: Profit without Purpose

19:31 – Understanding China’s Policy Shifts

31:14 – The Impact of China’s Growth

37:46 – Inflation and Fiscal Spending

50:11 – Recommended Economics Reading

TRANSCRIPT

Lightly edited, AI produced.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Hi, welcome to the Behind the Balance Sheet podcast where we meet leading investors and commentators and educate ourselves about the world of investing and the world. Our mission is to remove some of the mystique around investing and improve our understanding of what makes a successful investment or indeed an unsuccessful one. Our goal is to inform, educate and entertain. 

We hope you enjoy this and every episode behind the balance sheet and affiliates and podcast guests may own shares or have an economic interest in securities discussed in this podcast which is aired for your education and entertainment only nothing in this podcast should be construed as investment advice or relied upon for investment decisions. Always do your own research.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: This podcast is intended to educate as well as entertain and it has a more serious purpose. We are big supporters of the Financial Times financial literacy and inclusion campaign, a new charity which you can check out on F T dot com forward slash F L IC. It’s the most disadvantaged in society who often get taken in by financial scams by payday loans and similar artful devices to part people with their money.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: We can change this. It’s a straightforward task of education. This really is a great cause and I urge you please to support it. The podcast is sponsored by Cento and I ask them because I use the research platform almost every day for equity analysts. It’s in many respects the ideal tool. If I didn’t have a professional platform, I would need several different software systems.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Cento saves me a lot of time and ensures my research can be done in one place. I like it because first, the data is reliable and it aggregates all content. Second, it’s easy to use and much more intuitive than some other platforms. Third as features I have never seen in other systems. My favorite is the ability to go into a 10-K and extract the history for a particular data table if I want to see the trend in a parameter.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And I often do this, I snap my fingers without having to dig through multiple 10-K S. It’s much faster and easier, but most important, it’s the price, there’s a huge price advantage over other systems if you’re a smaller fund or even a larger fund, equipping analysts, Cento is definitely worth looking at visit cent O dot com forward slash BT BS for behind the balance sheet.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: For more details, Former Goldman Sachs partner Jim O’Neill, or more properly. Lord O’Neill is best known as the man who coined the term BRICS. He correctly identified that this group of emerging markets would drive global growth and publish the paper on it. Over 20 years ago.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: In this wide discussion, we talk about the BRICS about why for the first time in 30 years of close study of the country, he’s puzzled on Chinese policy and what inevitably lower Chinese growth means for the global economy. Of course, we discuss his beloved Manchester United. We discuss kids education which is a cause close to both our hearts and how his involvement in the antimicrobial review.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Leading to the publication of the book Superbugs was the most interesting work he’s ever undertaken. Jim is quite critical of central banks who he thinks are behind the curve and he gives his assessment of the long term outlook for inflation. Listen to the end to learn why he calls himself a spoiled brat. I hope you really enjoy this.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So Jim, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for coming on. Can you start by saying, look, you became the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Was it always your ambition? And you went to a comprehensive school? I mean, could you even have imagined that you become a partner of Goldman Sachs? And what lead you there?

JIM O’NEILL: No, not the at, at, at the, at the heart of how my life has evolved, I think, I mean, who knows? But I think it relates to a, a very key peculiarity of my, both my mother and father’s upbringing. And where we lived.

JIM O’NEILL: So my mum came from a Cheshire farming family and my dad came from a, inner Mancunian Irish descent public family. So, very different backgrounds. And I’m not entirely sure quite even how they really managed to stay together, you know, or met even Matt. Really?

JIM O’NEILL: But I guess for that reason the jeans I’ve got from each of them are quite different and, and, and they’re even bigger, coincidence, was that, we were raised, on a road called Style Style Road in Gatley in South Manchester or on the borders of South Manchester and Cheshire. Indeed, my story is exactly that the road was split down.

JIM O’NEILL: The middle, one side was Gatley Leafy Cheshire. The other was Gatley, not so leafy within Shore in Manchester. And we lived on the within Shore side, which meant you had to, unless you had a lot of money, which we didn’t, you’d had to go to a primary and junior school in an area very close to us called Cross Akers in with which is was and remains very tough.

JIM O’NEILL: And so it meant at the, the most young age I had to, I, I, I daily experiences of dealing with people from very different backgrounds. I would, I would get beaten up at primary school being called a Gatley snob every other day.

JIM O’NEILL: And then, I’D go back and at the weekend I’D, you know, go to church with nice people from Gatley Cheshire. So it was quite, you know, and of course, you never focus on these things till, and maybe it, maybe it wasn’t relevant, but I think it certainly meant that I had sort of some kind of adaptability to how I had to deal with things and it sort of, I think reappeared often through my life.

JIM O’NEILL: My dad, because of his background was obsessed about education and he, because he’d had to leave school at 14. And I think somewhere in his own murky past, there might have been other, other, other relations that had come from better parts that he, he never let us know about it.

JIM O’NEILL: But I think they’d had good educations and professional careers. So he was extremely eager for my three sisters and me to have a decent education, even though we went to a very tough initial schooling. And, and so he, he essentially forced us to go to university. I mean, the last, all I wanted to do, which was another side of where I grew up with these guys.

JIM O’NEILL: I just wanted to, you know, and we have sympathies on football, I think. You know, the famous Red Army which terrorized Britain in the 19 eighties was led by the within Shore Reds and I, I was raised at school with a lot. So I used to play, you know, the, the, the, the way to stop myself being beaten. Up by them was to play football with them.

JIM O’NEILL: But so that’s what I wanted to do. But my dad was like, no, you got, you know, you’re gonna go to a better school, you’re going to do a levels and you go to university. And so after that I didn’t really, I wasn’t quite, quite sure what I was gonna do. The truth of the matter was, I remained completely obsessed in playing football and having a good time and it was only when it came to the end of my degree about getting a job.

JIM O’NEILL: I thought that sounds like serious. And so I actually stayed on to do a phd and went through the whole, as much of social security, sorry, social science funding I could get, before I had to take responsibility and I ended up in the city, partly to get rid of the debts.

JIM O’NEILL: I had, I didn’t, I didn’t have the slightest idea what the hell I was really doing. And, I just gradually got into this path and Goldman was so desperate, to hire somebody to replace the one and only David Morrison in the early nineties, they were daft enough to offer me a partnership. Wow, that’s great. And that was it. Really? That’s brilliant.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I love that. I mean, we’re going to talk about economics, but I was just curious because you wrote that book or co-authored the book, Super Bugs. And you were asked by the Prime Minister to chair the review and anti microbial resistance. Is there something in your background that’s pharmaceutical or is it just so that, so then?

JIM O’NEILL: No, it was nothing whatsoever. So, let me give you a hopefully a very potted story of that. So, when I left go, er, nearly 19 years later, yeah. And the circumstances of me leaving, I, I’D, I’D already al always observed and been quite conscious of the circumstances in which senior people had left.

JIM O’NEILL: I’D, you know, I’D become, I’D been a partner the whole 19 years I’D been there, which is way beyond the average duration of a partner of about 10 years, I think. And I, I, I, I didn’t think my ego would pro probably cope with being told at some point, you’ve got to leave as is inevitable in a competitive place, like go. So I decided I was gonna leave before I got told that.

JIM O’NEILL: And I, and, and I, you know, the moment I chose for whatever reason it was partly because I wasn’t really enjoying sharing. It was great because I left with no animosity and no hang ups or anything. And, I, but, and also I developed this sort of mantra that, of course, of course, compared with most human beings, I was very fortunate being a partner of a firm that went public.

JIM O’NEILL: I didn’t, you know, I didn’t have to do anything. So I developed this mantra. If it can’t be better, it’s got to be different about what I would do and I had no idea what it meant, but it was initially, it was to stop me being dragged into, starting off my own fund or being, you know, getting involved in a fund or whatever.

JIM O’NEILL: And, it, it, it resulted in and I followed it pretty diligently. So I kept saying no to the things that came that way and it led me into the world of public policy. So my, my role in everything to do with things I’m heavily involved in now in the northern powerhouse and stuff like that and rebalancing and so-called leveling up that originated for that reason.

JIM O’NEILL: And then on the back of it, I got approached by the Treasury on behalf of the PM, would I lead this review into something called antimicrobial resistance which I could not even pronounce? And the guy that asked me said before you say, what is that?

JIM O’NEILL: And think about saying no, I’m pretty aware that your motto is now if it can’t be better, it’s gonna be different. And, and when I, my, my wife does have a, a scientific background and she knew about it. And I, as I joke to people, she, she said it would be the first time in 30 years. Not only do I understand a bit about what you’re doing, but I, I’m also even interested.

JIM O’NEILL: And I thought, listen, this is, seems like a colossal, truly global thing. I’ll learn something, and I knew it would be temporary as a review and I thought, and I thought, why not? And it, it’s actually stayed the most interesting thing I’ve ever done in my life. Oh, really?

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And did it teach you much about the pandemic? So, when the pandemic is fully armed with all the, the knowledge or?

JIM O’NEILL: Yes, yes. Is the, I mean, not in all aspects, but yes. The, and the reason why I say it was a probably the most interesting thing I’ve ever done in my life is, is multifaceted. But linked to that question, you know, I, I had no idea about ant about, it’s basically at the core of it, the people, the growing resistance of antibiotics to, to the bugs that live in, in our bodies and in life.

JIM O’NEILL: And I had no idea what an issue it was and I had no idea about the scale of damage a world when their antibiotics could be. And, and our review became famous because we, I, what I, and the reason why they asked me is that it is because of the brick thing. And I, they thought I had this sort of a voice in the emerging world where this problem’s big.

JIM O’NEILL: And so what, what we did is we, we redid the 2050 scenario that made the brick thing popular for a world where am R would escalate to be a serious massive problem. And it led us to concluding that by 2050 there could be 10 million people a year down and that’s 10 million and a accumulated loss of $100 trillion.

JIM O’NEILL: And so, amongst the reasons why I was prepared for the economic and other aspects of, of, of COVID was that, you know, I knew that there was infectious disease, things out there that can cause global devastation. And as, as we also, at the end of the review came up with 29 specific recommendations. One was about much greater or two of them were crucial to this.

JIM O’NEILL: 11 was wash your hands in warm soapy water while you’re singing a happy birthday. So, so better personal cleanliness and certainly, and especially in hospital settings or anything like that is vital to stopping the spread of infectious diseases. And of course, that’s crucial to this pandemic. And then secondly, we also recommended a much bigger use of vaccines.

JIM O’NEILL: And we learned that there were pre-Covid, there was only really three pharmaceutical firms really in the vaccine business and because the economics of it suck. And they all, you know what I and we’ll get into this, I’m sure I, what I really learned is a, is a, a massive belief in what I’D call profit with purpose.

JIM O’NEILL: You know, having been the chief Economist of Goldman through the crisis had seen plenty of reasons to think about that way also. But, you know, I was shocked when I, you know, we, we said the world could lose $100 trillion. If there’s these 29 interventions are implemented, which would cost 42 billion billion over a decade, you’d stop 10 million people dying.

JIM O’NEILL: So it’s something like a 2000, 200,000, sorry, 20,000% return. And I, I, I was shocked as to how narrow pharmaceutical companies think they basically think the economics of vaccines and antibiotics suck. So they don’t wanna do it unless governments are gonna pay them for it. Which is what’s happened during COVID. Yeah.

JIM O’NEILL: And I’ve, I’ve actually been on for much of 2021. I was on the UK S G7 Health task force. I co co headed the financing part of it with Man Shafiq. And and very interestingly, I was a commissioner on something that became known as the Monte Commission, an independent European commission about trying to make the world a better place.

JIM O’NEILL: Chaired by Mario Mons and we had some, some big views including trying to restructure global health and global finance. So I i it’s meant I’ve been very involved in all that. I mean, it’s fascinating.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, you, you’ve got your CV, I mean, it, it covers pages. I mean, it was, I was trying to figure out, I mean, how could you be doing all the, I mean, I imagine some of the stuff that, you know, let, let go.

JIM O’NEILL: But, I mean, yeah, yeah, my life is that, that the, the Monte Commission’s finished, the G7 Health thing is, obviously finished. So, my life’s a tiny bit. I’m, I’m not quite as phonetically busy, at the moment than I have been for a while. It’s nice. Is it?

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, you should be retired, right? You should be relaxing.

JIM O’NEILL: You know, to be honest with you, the thought of sitting around, I, I don’t think because of how interesting in, profession my life has been. I think I’m probably in the camp that, that couldn’t cope with whatever sitting around relaxing means.

JIM O’NEILL: I, I think I’D probably struggle with that, to be honest. No, I, I, I agree if United were run or owned by a bunch of human beings and there was, I’D be going to watch them every week still so that I could in that world, I’D be all right.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But you don’t tell me you aren’t going to the matches.

JIM O’NEILL: I don’t go, I don’t, I, I gave my season ticket up some years ago, out of distaste for the ownership. I, I do go, I go to away games and I occasionally go to old traffic because a lot of my mates still have season tickets so I can piggy back on the back of them.

JIM O’NEILL: And I have to say this morning, the day we’re chatting, we, we, we, we’ve survived the first leg of the Champions League game and I, and I might try and get to the old Trafford return and go through the fatalistic yet again of seeing United kicked out of Europe while I’m there. Oh, yeah.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But I mean, you must be cheer more cheerful about your team because they’re fourth in the league.

JIM O’NEILL: And no, no, I’m not, I can’t stand the slow erosion of Manchester United’s staggering global brand with these outrageous owners. You know, they, they themselves to in, in, in, in a way that also has influenced how I think about it so much. It’s a, the ownership of Manchester United is a, is one of the most live vivid illustrations of profit without purpose. It’s horrible.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So, I mean, the shares are languishing. I mean, the shares have done nothing, think about the value of media properties in the last 10 years. The shares of the shares have done nothing.

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, in, I think they’re 5% higher than they were when they first did the IP O.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So, I mean, I was overvalued and obviously the value of the team is somehow linked to their performance on the field. But so, I mean, are they a good investment now?

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, no, no, no, they’re not. I listen, I think it is, I’m glad you raised that because most people because of how, how well the Glazers extract money.

JIM O’NEILL: And because of the sponsorship deals they did in the past, a lot of people seem to think it’s been like some massive financial success but actually any idiot that own the shares.

JIM O’NEILL: And I, in this regard, by the way, the background you and I come from, I don’t quite get how the clients of a couple of sizable institutional investors that do own them, don’t give them a hard time because it’s at a time when what, what was before the past six months, the best ever era for owning us shares United’s performance has been diabolical.

JIM O’NEILL: Yeah, I mean, so it’s been just as bad as an investor as it has been as a supporter.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, I I get that but I mean, you at one point were a part of a group that were interested in taking over the club. I mean, why is nobody bought it?

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, oh gosh, well, this is, this is part of the I I call it the most unstable equilibrium I’ve ever come across because of the because of the the game of global live meteorites.

JIM O’NEILL: There is this staggeringly inherent value for truly global brands. And as I I, one of the things I experienced during those crazy few days of the so-called Red Knights United’s brand, it’s, it’s despite the performance still just astonishingly astonishingly huge.

JIM O’NEILL: I, the only place I’ve traveled to in the two years of COVID bizarrely was Uzbekistan, which by the way was a beautiful trip. I go there.

JIM O’NEILL: I was asked by the government to participate in a forum because they, they, they superficially appear to be the latest country that’s trying to, you know, sort of do a, let’s call it do a Georgia of the day that, you know, ironically at a time when aspects of the liberal capitalist model are being rolled back, they’re trying to embrace it.

JIM O’NEILL: So it’s very interesting, but I, I, I actually, I said I’D only do it if I could travel around for a week with my wife. And so we went to all the truly historic Silk Road places.

JIM O’NEILL: It, it was fascinating but the point of me raising it is that every adult over, you know, that could speak English that I converse to within 10 minutes, the banging on about Manchester United, it was like, it was astonishing.

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, I kind of knew this kind of thing for my professional life all over the world, but I hadn’t quite realized in a place like Uzbekistan it would be and, you know, and this is, this is, and so, to get to turn it to you back to your question, you know, the, the owners know that, that the in this artificial world of, of value within media content.

JIM O’NEILL: United has this massive notional premium. So, you know, if you spoke to a sports media expert, they’d say United’s probably worth anywhere from 3 to £6 billion today. But the problem is, and the Glazers would sell if somebody gave them money towards the end of that, I think.

JIM O’NEILL: But there’s no lunatic in the world that would do. There’s nobody that’s smart enough that would do that. Who are the few people who have that money and even bigger, the, the, the number of people that can actually do that is tiny.

JIM O’NEILL: And so it just sits there, you know, allowing these people to extract cash out of Manchester United and, you know, the saga goes on and we replace one manager with another.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Ok. Well, you know, I wish you luck. My elder son has become fascinated with football and, you know, he does the fantasy football and I believe he’s a Manchester United supporter, but he won’t admit it. He won’t tell me what team he’s supporting. But the, the Fancy football has been really fascinating actually.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: It’s a very, you know, it’s a peculiar statistical thing and he’s, he’s quite active in it, you know, so he’s quite, he’s trading. So I, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m encouraging that. Listen, the reason that we’re doing this was you wrote this fantastic article for project Syndicate about China.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And you said, you said, well, there’s a couple of things that we you know, people need to be aware of the, the the crackdown, the regulatory clampdown on Chinese private companies, which obviously the for profit education sector looks like it’s going to disappear. And you know, it’s stifling private sector risk taking.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And you mentioned the government having to do well, they’ve had this very aggressive clampdown on anti COVID measures and at some point, they’re going to have to release that which is going to be, it’s going to be difficult for them. I, I guess you didn’t mention ever grand, I mean, presumably because you feel the government has induced that and they’ve got a plan to manage their way out of that for that.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But there’s lots of things happening. I hope they have a, so what, what you, I mean, you, you, you, you, you, you talked very eloquently in the article, but you didn’t say, well, what, what they should do about it. I mean, what, what can we do about it?

JIM O’NEILL: So, I mean, big implications for the rest of the world, right? I mean, what you have hugely, I mean, listen, going back to why even why I got involved in AM R is because of the BRICS thing.

JIM O’NEILL: And of course, China was at the center of the BRICS thing and China actually is the only BRICS country that’s delivered what we assumed 20 years later and China has been the single, single most important marginal, positive contributor to global GDP for the past 20 years, more than the US.

JIM O’NEILL: So yes, anything that goes badly wrong in China economically is going to affect everyone. So you’re right. What, what you didn’t mention is that the, the real theme of my article was that I’m not sure for the first time in 30 years that I actually understand what’s going on in China policy wise.

JIM O’NEILL: I always, I became infatuated, well, like most people, I became infatuated with China the first time I went in 1990. And I really started to become aware of its great importance during the Asian financial crisis.

JIM O’NEILL: And I, I, I, and I, and I, I, I, I kidded myself and still do that ever since then, I’ve kind of understood the policy reaction function and the broad framework of al almost like extremely good risk mitigation and, and very good risk return economic managers.

JIM O’NEILL: And it served me well thinking that way until the past two or three years.

JIM O’NEILL: And I say all of that because I don’t know whether they’ve got a plan about ever grand and the fallout for two reasons, one is because so many people write about the scale of the interconnected issues in real estate and local authorities appears to be such that once you start to have a go at some of the biggest, you know, where does it finish?

JIM O’NEILL: Yes. And, and then the second bit which is the more substantive subtle part of my article is what is actually really, you know, they could have done this any time in the past few years. What’s, what’s motivated the timing of all these things?

JIM O’NEILL: Is it something to do with the peculiar factions inside the higher echelons of the Chinese Communist Party and its and therefore temporary, essentially crackdowns on opponents of, of President Xi or, or is it indeed some much deeper new philosophical desire to literally get rid of these many, many billionaire type Chinese people that they think threaten the, the purest model of what they want.

JIM O’NEILL: And I don’t, I don’t think yet we know the answer, you know, and there’s a danger in what I, I guess another part of my ask is and trying to be sort of humble is that just to have an open mind? I mean, you look at what’s emerged in Russia the past six months, you know, there’s a grave danger in thinking, you understand where these characters are trying to go.

JIM O’NEILL: And we don’t really know what President Xi as a third term guy really wants to achieve is, is it that he really wants to sustain the Communist dictatorship even more to a degree in which actually penalizes private sectors of wealth or not. And we, you know, I think we’re gonna, you know, it’s a hugely hugely important question of which, how he deals with the ever grand issue is just one of many end endless species.

JIM O’NEILL: And I think, you know, the next 12 months as often with anything to do with China, but particularly because of the timing of all of this is, is absolutely fascinating and front and center to try to fathom out what’s gonna happen to the world economy. Yeah.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And of course, it’s even more difficult to understand because nobody’s been able to go there.

JIM O’NEILL: Right. Right. So, on the COVID thing that, that in itself is such a, a mammoth test. I mean, it seems pretty obvious from the evidence we’ve seen in, in, at virtually everywhere else with, with Omicron that this is a hugely infectious variant, but it’s not unless you really got underlying problems that life threatening.

JIM O’NEILL: And so the idea that you’re gonna get rid of that inside your country is just bananas. And, if that’s gonna be his policy, then, then China on top of what if it wasn’t already enough of an issue with what we touched on a minute ago every other week, they’re gonna be having to shut down some part of China in a significant way to supposedly stomp it out. Which is crazy.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Yeah. I mean, they, they presumably, they’ll have to, they’ll, they’ll accept that, that they, you know, the, the downsides of the Omicron virus and, and otherwise, I mean, Hong Kong’s gonna lose its status as a presumably, I mean, it’s gonna lose its status as an international financial center. No, I mean, it’s the, the whole thing.

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, I, I’m not a China expert and I, I think, I think my message is on that is that anybody that claims they are, one should be careful of trust in them. Yeah.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Well, I, I mean, yeah, I mean, you, you know, we talked earlier about, you know, you can’t get your, you can’t get inside the head of the leader of a country, whether it’s China or Russia, it’s impossible to understand and you can speculate. But I mean, I don’t know anybody’s gonna get anywhere by, by, by doing so the the consequences of slower growth in China therefore are slower growth everywhere.

JIM O’NEILL: I think that’s, I think that’s right. I mean, I’ll try to answer this a bit more simply if you, if you look at the past, if you look at the four decades to 2020 global GDP growth has been 3.33 point 33.93 point seven. And so the last two decades stronger than the first two and the, the major not major, the dominant reason why world growth was strong in the last two decades was China.

JIM O’NEILL: So if China slows significantly and unless the only other place on the planet that has the potential at some point to make up would be India.

JIM O’NEILL: Unless the US suddenly starts growing at 4% which that seems very unlikely on a sustained basis, the world will go back towards something closer to 3%.

JIM O’NEILL: So it is as, you know, it’s as simple as that, you know, China has become a 14, sorry, $16 trillion economy. And you know, that means that what happens to them going forward, if it goes from 16, back to 10 or if it goes from 16 to 25 that is gonna be the most important thing for the world economy in the next decade.

JIM O’NEILL: It’s not gonna go down though, is it, I mean, I mean, you know, let me make sure I don’t get things out of perspective myself. Here, there is a, there is a very gloomy scenario which, which I’ve, I’ve argued against for the best part of 35 years. But some people, particularly in the US have been manically on this path ever since famous people that I’ve argued in public against often and they’ve been wrong.

JIM O’NEILL: But there is a path where China makes big mistakes as it’s trying to manage these things and that there becomes some kind of balance of payments crisis, the R M B collapses.

JIM O’NEILL: And, and they get into a vicious circle of debt fault, capital outflow that they can’t control R M B halves in value, you know, and we’ve seen some of that in Russia the past two years, Russia is now no longer one of the world’s top in, in, in dollar terms, no longer one of the top 10 economies of the world because of little bit of this kind of thing. So there is, there is a downside scenario.

JIM O’NEILL: I, I, I, I, despite my concerns and my sort of openness about not really understanding what they’re up to, I, I still believe the Chinese are, are savvy enough and alert enough to nip something like that in the bud before it gets going. As we, we saw a little window of that in 2016 and they stopped it really successfully.

JIM O’NEILL: So I think that is probably unlikely. The real, the real thing is, is China actually gonna still get to be as big as the US as many people like me assumed. And I, I would say right now in the next decade, that’s now an open question. Whereas three years ago, I would have said def definitely it’s gonna happen.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, my perception there is a good article in the Financial Times yesterday about President Xi and chasing people Chinese people who had fled Overseas and trying to repatriate them either, you know, through legal means or through less legal means.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And my perception of that was that this is he doesn’t want the capital to flow out of the country, you know, and that’s part of the reason for, you know, being so active against and the IP O that wasn’t approved so active against and financial and this is about, you know, keeping the money at home because at the end of the day, if he keeps the money at home, he’s better protected.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And obviously the, the, the surplus shrank very significantly as people. And you could, I mean, you, you could understand if you were in China and you had a lot of money, you could understand that you want to get some of that outside the country.

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, that is, well, I’m pretty sure I’m pretty sure as, I’m sure you pick up but I’m kind of reasonably confident that already for about the past 56 years quite, it’s been one way or the other, quite a lot of wealthy Chinese individuals have been either slowly or as quickly in some cases as possible trying to get money out of the place.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So it makes huge amount, makes a huge amount of sense, particularly if you aren’t sure of what the political complexion is going is going to look like. So, but, you know, we, we’ll never, well, we’ll know in a couple of years, I suppose.

JIM O’NEILL: Yeah, exactly. We’ll know, we’ll know afterwards.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Yeah. Well, I, I’m predicting it. It’s gonna be terrible bad but they totally difficult. But the, I mean, the brick more widely probably gonna have a good, decade or they, I mean, obviously we’re, as we speak, we’re looking at a very, difficult situation in, in Ukraine, you know. But you know, my assumption is that we’re gonna have higher metals, higher energy prices.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: India has got the demographics going for it. So, other than China, the other BRICS are gonna do pretty well this decade, aren’t they?

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, let me start by just sort of not leaving your audience with a distorted view of where I think China’s probably heading, you know, despite what I’ve flagged, I have no reason to assume that China won’t grow by 4.5 to 5% in the next decade.

JIM O’NEILL: It just might be a bit more volatile than before. And that, that rate of growth is actually what we assumed would happen this decade as part of the brick story. So, you know, I think it’s, I think that’s probably the best starting assumption.

JIM O’NEILL: And I, but I think Steve, you make a very interesting observation, you know, we’ve just gone through the 20th year of the whole big thing. So I’ve done endless media and conference things about, about what it means where it stands, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

JIM O’NEILL: And it’s of course against the background of most people, basically thinking it was all a bit of a joke and the second decade was, was, was so bad, et cetera, et cetera. But when you, when you, when you point out as you’ve just done the crucial role of commodity prices for two of them, Brazil and Russia, that’s why they had a brilliant first decade and, and that’s why they both had a disastrous second decade.

JIM O’NEILL: And so if we’re in a, in an up commodity cycle, these guys, another way of thinking about it, these guys have to keep making even bigger mistakes at home to make their economies weak because they are completely commodity dependent.

JIM O’NEILL: So Brazil and Russia will all Brazil definitely will have a better decade in the twenties than it had in the tens Russia given, given the, the the wildness of what’s going on is a little bit trickier. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns out to be the case too because oil and gas are so central.

JIM O’NEILL: And you’re right on India.

JIM O’NEILL: I’m personally quite disappointed with, with the, the eight years of, of lack of reform under Modi, but their demographics are so spectacular. You know, this place can grow at 67% even without major reform. And if they really did get the reform bug, India could grow by 10% easily the next decade.

JIM O’NEILL: So if you put all of that together a arithmetically, it’s a bit tricky because China’s twice the size of the others put together. So what happens in China will affect the average but adjusted for that? The other, you’re right, the other three collectively will definitely do better than they did in the, in the tent.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I I I, I’m presuming and where do you stand on inflation? I mean, you know, I haven’t heard anybody talk about transitory for a while but, I mean, isn’t it?

JIM O’NEILL: You know, I’ve got three, let’s call it, philosophical observations about this.

JIM O’NEILL: The first one is, I, you know, I think, I think the debate about itself is, is, is currently another victim stroke highlighter of this 24 7 universe in which we’ve, we, we live in where now, even among central banks seemingly giving out hawkish, the started to talk, everybody assumes we’ve got inflation forever.

JIM O’NEILL: Because it, it, it’s been going up more than we’ve expected. And so that means that’s it.

JIM O’NEILL: It could. But it’s quite interesting that for certainly the past 18 months, central bankers were constantly saying it’s only temporary second thing I would say.

JIM O’NEILL: And I learned this for so long in my golden years, at least as it relates to the US. I’m an avid follower of the University Of Michigan five year inflation expectation survey and it’s hardly budged.

JIM O’NEILL: So I don’t think we’ve got the 19 sixties and 19 seventies entrenched circular dynamics yet.

JIM O’NEILL: And in that regard, I, I, I, I would say as part of the second bit, I, I’m sort of agnostic. I, I thought it seemed very obvious to me that inflation as a statistical C P I thing would be a lot higher a year ago. But it’s not obvious to me what will happen from here.

JIM O’NEILL: Which takes me to my third thing. It obviously depends on policy. And I actually, I, I was kindly asked along with three others to appear before the UK Treasury Select Committee a couple of weeks ago. And in fact, the F T rather naughtily exaggerated quite a few of my comments. I, I did say them but the F T built, built them into quite a thing.

JIM O’NEILL: You know, you stand back from it quite why we have. So, you know, we, we should have short rates quite a bit higher in my opinion that the the days of Q E serving any positive purpose have long since gone. And you know, I was taught when I was doing my basic economics that the, the, you know, the underlying level of interest rates should, should be pretty close to some kind of level of nominal GDP.

JIM O’NEILL: And so, you know, I would have thought we should be in a world where short rates are AAA good 2% higher than where we are now. They’re not, they’re not, I’m not in saying that saying let’s raise rates 2% tomorrow. But somehow we’ve gotta get, if we really want to control inflation, we’ve got to have a monetary policy framework that gives us a chance of doing so.

JIM O’NEILL: Because, you know, we don’t, I mean, look at amongst the reasons why it seems to be quite obvious inflation would rise here. And you look at, you know, I’m not a monetarist by any means far from it, but you look at monetary growth the past two years and you look at house prices, you know, classic, classic leading indicators, surprise, surprise, they’ve been telling you this is gone.

JIM O’NEILL: And if we’re gonna keep pursuing these astonishingly low interest rate, easy money policies, then we won’t control inflation.

JIM O’NEILL: Ok?

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: So we can’t afford high rate on the debt because we’ve got so much debt everywhere. And so the balance, I mean, it just seems to me if you’re in government, what you, what you want is to inflate the debt away, what you do, what you, what you do want is you want to inflate, inflate it away without anybody noticing.

JIM O’NEILL: But the problem is because there’s a 24 7 world that, that don’t exist, here’s what, here’s what. And this was at the core of my attempted comments to the Treasury Select Committee.

JIM O’NEILL: I think you, I don’t see a way out of that because it, you know, I think part of the idea of having inflation above target for a while, which is kind of what the FED did with its new shift in principle sounds great.

JIM O’NEILL: But the problem with that is it assumes you know, the world of the internet and Instagram and, and TikTok and you know that people don’t follow what’s going on. I mean, you just can’t pull these things off with people being ignorant.

JIM O’NEILL: And so hopefully the central bankers are waking up to that if, if they really want to have inflation above target for a while, just tell us, don’t, don’t, don’t play games because the markets will fear the worst.

JIM O’NEILL: They fear that you actually don’t have a clear what you’re doing. Well, I don’t think they do. Well, that could be, but here’s, here’s what I think they should really do, I think, and it’s quite radical.

JIM O’NEILL: I think the, the, the, the oh eight financial crisis and the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the, the, the fiscal debt and fiscal spending things that people like you and I were, were, were taught to believe throughout our education might not be right.

JIM O’NEILL: You know, there’s no evidence that debt above 60% of GDP as devastated anywhere. You know, I think of, think of all the famous people that have lost money short in Japanese bonds for the past 30 dec, 30 years.

JIM O’NEILL: And so what, what I think we really need to get out of this trap and, and with it, the productivity trap is to have a much more adult and sophisticated approach to which, which require a change by the IMF but will only happen with a bold western country taking the lead.

JIM O’NEILL: Let, let’s call it a very modern Gordon Brown golden rule where, where you essentially have separate accounting for government investment spending and government consumption spending and, and, and if it was done transparently and openly, which by the way, would allow the likes of an India to spend properly on education and health and not, and not, you know, because they don’t, a lot of emerging countries because of this IMF style 19 sixties, seventies obsession with some low level of debt to GDP, none of these emerging countries ever really spend anything on health of education.

JIM O’NEILL: So they can’t get out. One of the reasons they can’t get out of the low income trap is because they can’t grow their economic potential properly and neither can we anymore, you know, going right back to the AM R thing in theory because of our review and Sally Davis, the chief medical officer being prepared for pandemics was on the UK S risk register as one of the main priorities hilariously.

JIM O’NEILL: But because we hadn’t actually invested in anything when it came to the crunch, you know, we couldn’t cope.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I mean, this isn’t a radical solution at all. I mean, I, I don’t think so but I plan for its money in that way. So why, I mean, the government, the government like a cashbook. Why? Why is that?

JIM O’NEILL: I mean, it’s just, it’s just, it’s just become part of, you know, I’m glad to hear you say that Steve because I sometimes think I’m going a bit around the bend when I get the reaction to this.

JIM O’NEILL: It’s, it’s, it’s, I think it’s just because of a, it’s, it’s group think and acceptance of the norm, you know, and as I said, I, I try to talk to senior IMF people about it as it relates to health because it’s bananas, you know, to, to, to, to constrain so many countries attempts to truly use national, you know, you and mine and taxpayers’ money to invest for the future because of some arbitrary level of debt.

JIM O’NEILL: It’s just ridiculous and because you can’t get, you can’t grow enough to get out of what the debt situation is unless you have something that’s boosting the productivity performance of the country.

JIM O’NEILL: And so you gotta, you gotta break the cycle and the way to do it, I think is to have a more truly active role on government investment spending, which would mean in aggregate for a while higher deficits to GDP.

JIM O’NEILL: But then you wouldn’t have to have such a ridiculously low monetary policy and, and, and the debt burden issue of, of going from 0 to 2% wouldn’t be as, it would still be a problem for hugely over indebted consumers, of course, but it wouldn’t be as big a burden for the overall economy. But if we, if we try to tighten Monet monetary policy without that, yeah, it’s gonna put us into a recession. Yeah.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Ok. Well, I mean, I think that’s a very sensible solution but I mean, I, I, I, I don’t really understand why we’ve got the system we’ve got. Before we go, I just wanted to ask you about this Charity Shine. Yes, thank you, podcast. What I’ve been doing in the podcast is I’ve been trying to promote the F T S new financial literacy, charity, financial literacy and inclusion campaign. F L I ce for sure.

JIM O’NEILL: And I mean, I think I know the guy that’s behind it at the F two. It’s a great thing, Patrick, actually it’s the education. Well, it’s not Patrick though. It’s the, the of education and science.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: All right. So, I mean, the, the, the champion at FT is Patrick Jenkins and I interviewed for the podcast. We did a little 15 minute.

JIM O’NEILL: Oh, that’s fun. I didn’t know that I must listen to that saying about it.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And I mean, I think, you know, it’s one of these, it’s one of Warren Buffett’s one FT bars. You know, it’s quite an easy challenge to, to, to improve and people lose money by taking payday loans because they don’t understand the idea of compound interest. If you just teach everybody about compound interest, then a lot of people will be better off.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Right. I just was interested because I, I’m not familiar with the Charity Shine. And I, I was reading about it, it, it started in London. You’ve improved the education standards in four areas of London. You’re now moving it, you know, the northern powerhouse. So, do you want to just explain.

JIM O’NEILL: Yes, thank you so much for giving me the chance. Actually, I’m really grateful it, it goes back to, to what we touched on at the start of my background. You know, I, I went to, I, I went to have my, primary and junior schooling in a, in a very tough, er, environment.

JIM O’NEILL: Yeah. And the only reason I kind of really escaped from it is because of my parents, my dad, in particular obsession with education, probably quite a few of those kids were just equally capable as I was.

JIM O’NEILL: But they never had the environment or the circumstances to get out of it. So shine is stands for support and help in education. And it’s essentially, it’s now in existence for 21 years.

JIM O’NEILL: It’s, it’s, it’s basically V C for education philanthropy and we try to back initiatives that we think improve the chances of people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, achieving their education potential. And I’m extremely passionate about it.

JIM O’NEILL: We did, we were fortunate enough to come into existence during the early Blair years or, or the middle Blair years and in particular, something that influenced me quite a bit on all of how we evolved.

JIM O’NEILL: When, when the, the mess of Hackney resulted in them introducing some something called the Hackney Learning Trust, which essentially just for that Boer imposed a new educational authority inside the council and that was at the core.

JIM O’NEILL: And if you reflect back on that 20 years later, where Hatton’s educational attainment has gone of, of, of, of actual evidence that, you know, with the right interventions, things can improve. And it, it, it not necessarily all because of just shine interventions, but we traveled through that journey with others.

JIM O’NEILL: And so we decided five years ago as a V C type entity, what’s the point in still just being primarily in London when actually these days, the severe educational challenges elsewhere, I’m from the north of England, the whole northern powerhouse. So why not do that?

JIM O’NEILL: So we’re now headquartered in Leeds and we’re trying to do a whole slew of different things increasingly place based to many different challenge parts of the north of England. I have a very interesting project going on in North Birkenhead at the moment and we’re exploring doing some more intense place based stuff in Greater Manchester and up in the northeast.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But I’ll put, so there’ll be a web page, I’ll put some links in there and, and talk about it because I think it’s really, you know, fantastic cause I mean, anything to do with kids education is something that is dear to my heart before I let you go, I just, I always ask people if they could recommend a book. So if you’re a young person thinking of becoming an Economist. What book should they read?

JIM O’NEILL: Gosh.

JIM O’NEILL: Oh, I mean, I, I don’t think they could do, much worse than, than getting the, getting, getting hold of a copy of the Economist newspaper every week. Or the Economist magazine. I think the Economist magazine is, is, is, is very readable and it’s very, very topical and, and, you know, it believes in, in the basic concepts of economic theory quite strongly.

JIM O’NEILL: And so that, you know, you have to pay, I guess, I don’t know if the economy, I think the F T, the F T is a thing where it’s, giving discounts and if not free access to, to school kids, to the F T but the guard, my, my, how do I read the Guardian? But I know the F is on a bit of a quite rally on a campaign in this.

JIM O’NEILL: But, in terms of a textbook, you know, here, here because of my age, you know, that I’m, that them, there must be more up to date versions of what I always thought I would regard as the Bible, which is called Macroeconomics by dorm. Rudy Dan Bush and Stanley Fisher.

JIM O’NEILL: And actually one of the reasons why I say that and it goes back to my own position as an Economist and how I think about the so called profession. I had the privilege of meeting Rudy, in the early nineties quite a bit and mid nineties.

JIM O’NEILL: And suddenly he, he, he died a decade or so ago and I met Stan Fisher a few times and what I love about them both as brilliant as they became and their huge global reputations. They both didn’t take themselves too seriously. They both had a, both have a stand still alive. They both have a great sense of humor.

JIM O’NEILL: But, you know, these two together presided over, I’m trying to guess when I can’t remember exactly when it was first published. So whether it’s been updated or not or not, but on the basic premises of macroeconomics, there’s not much better than, than macroeconomics by Dawn Bush and Stanley Fisher.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Why didn’t you write a textbook on economics?

JIM O’NEILL: You know, I’ve, I have written a couple of books about the, I’ve written three. I’ve written two about BRICS and I’ve written one about, super bugs. You know, my peculiarity, I, I think the whole book for me personally, the whole book writing experience isn’t one of the most thrilling things in life.

JIM O’NEILL: It’s, you know, you, you become, you can become a hostage to the publishers. They want to drag you around on sort of what I regard as annoying road shows and all this kind of stuff.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But you, you’re lucky you’re complaining. So, I, I wrote a book published last year and, I mean, it, it, it isn’t the only bookshop. It’s appeared in, is in Nigeria as far as I can as far as I can tell. But I, I didn’t, I would have loved to have done a, you know, a book signing.

JIM O’NEILL: I’m a, I’m a spoiled brat. What, what am I do? I, I, I was saying this again to somebody yesterday. Well, if all else fails to meet, I might write a book on the, a year in the life of a Red Knight.

JIM O’NEILL: Because in that crazy two or three week mayhem when that story broke some, some of the circumstances I found myself and on, on so many big issues of society with globalization, business sport and, and just being in the middle of this sort of mad global media frenzy about it, you know, one day one. But I’D rather do that than write a book about microeconomics.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: No, I think I’D, I’D rather read the book, read that Jim. It is always great fun to talk to you. Thank you so much for, for coming on.

JIM O’NEILL: All right. It’s my pleasure mate. Thanks for having me.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Jim O’Neill may have become a partner at Goldman Sachs, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, a government minister and Baron O’Neill of Gatley.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But he hasn’t forgotten his humble roots.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I so enjoyed him calling himself a spoiled brat when I pointed out that nobody’s asked me to do a book signing, but I would still love to do one in the podcast. Jim was critical of the Glazer Family owners of Manchester United. That’s Jim’s view expressed more mildly than I’ve heard him in private and Jim is of course entitled to his personal view.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: But if there are any lawyers listening, I just like to make it clear, it’s not the view of this podcast. And I actually think that given the poor performance and the value of the brand Manchester United shares might be interesting. So I’m going to take a closer look in my newsletter.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: Don’t forget to sign up for that on my website behind the balance sheet dot com. One thing was clear from that conversation, we may be growing more slowly in the 20 twenties, but we will still be reliant on the brakes for some of that or much of that growth. Jim was unsure that inflation is here to stay in the longer term.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: And I guess that’s probably a sensible stance to take. This is likely the last episode of this mini series on the Macro world. I’ve learned a lot, but I think the long term macro picture remains pretty murky and I still wouldn’t own any bonds for the rest of this year.

STEPHEN CLAPHAM: I’m gonna switch the podcast back on to investing including a special focus on E S G, an overused term and one which I think is widely misunderstood, watch out for those and don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode and if you have any ideas let us know at info at behind the balance sheet dot com. Thank you for listening.