Economic Determinism in Cricket

It is a little known fact that when Karl Marx sojourned for a second time in the Isle of Wight in 1882 he was persuaded to turn out for Ryde, where he lodged, against their rivals Northwood Cricket Club founded many years before by the William Ward who saved the cricket ground that later became known incorrectly as Lord’s and which a true band of purists continue steadfastly to call Dark’s.

Karl, who as a German with little feel for the game, was naturally invited to field down at third man at ‘both ends’. 

This Third Man was reminded of the fact by an announcement on the UK economy this week.

The UK economy is in deep trouble.  On Tuesday we learnt that the Consumer Prices Index rose in December to 3.7 per cent.  The financial traders who like churn are pressing for interest rate increases but the main ingredients of the increase in prices are food and fuel prices, not wages, which remain depressed under the burden of 2.5 million seeking work and a few million more brushed under the carpet.  

The inflation has been aided and abetted not by the greed of ordinary citizens clamouring for higher wages or borrowing money to play the property market, but by Central Bankers whose over complex invention, Quantitative Easing, has quite plainly handed newly created cash to those who see its best use not as an investment opportunity in the real economy (as the Gnomes in the B of E naively expected) but as the equivalent of the free introductory stakes handed out to new customers of on-line betting companies, or in this case the world’s derivatives and bond market casinos. QED the twin bonus-enhancing phenomena of escalating world food, fuel and raw material prices, and of short selling in markets for sovereign debt.

The following day unemployment figures were published stubbornly stuck at that 2.5 million mark with youth unemployment nearing 1 million.  All this before the expected losses in public sector jobs have made their impression on the figures.

Meanwhile the England cricket team is doing rather well. The players are relaxed, well led and confident. 

For now, the Australian economy seems to have shaken off the effects of the Great Recession as if it were a particularly mild case of man flu in a patient who, having briefly taken to his bed, suddenly realises there is fun to be had outside in the sunshine.

Of course if you are a follower of Steve Keen’s Debtwatch you will believe that this state of affairs, sustained by increasing debt yet further, is a temporary phenomenon before the Great Hangover, that can be postponed no longer, arrives with double the pain.

But, if England’s good form is anything to go by, such anguish could just possibly be what cricket in Australia needs in order to revive its fortunes.


Third Man was about to publish this post under his trivial category when, looking for a suitable image, he found this revelatory chart:

Australia’s loss of the 2nd Test coincided with the publication of unemployment figures which had fallen to 5.2%.   Andrew Barrelle, a Merrill Lynch trader in Sydney, who deserves a bonus this year, thought he saw a conjunction between these two states of affairs. 

With his tongue only lightly pressed against his cheek, he played his Bloomberg terminal like Richard Wakeman on his Minimoog synthesiser to produce the chart that seems to confirm the economic determination of cricket.

Using his figures Mr  Barrelle went on to predict an England series win by a margin of two Tests, either 2 – 0, or 3 – 1.  Thank you and congratulations Mr B.


O-la.  Telegraph diarist Jonathan Russell has also picked up on the work of Andrew Barrelle but was frustrated that this other Australian AB’s good work ‘gives us little visibility of the future.’

So, enlisting the help of Shore Capital, he sought guidance from the behaviour of the FTSE All-Share Index in 1986-87, the last time England won an Ashes series Down Under.  What does it foretell?

If the 2010/11 FTSE continues to track the 1986/87 index, as according to Shore it has been, we should get about 10 months more of rising values.  But if you are using any of those QE gains, make sure you are out before 17th October, the anniversary of Black Monday.

WARNING FROM PUNTER PONTING: Batting averages can go down as well as up.


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