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Fri 11 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

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Clever advice and nonsense

"Nine-tenths of the existing books are nonsense and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense" wrote long-dead British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at some point in the distant past.

"Nine-tenths of the existing books are nonsense and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense" wrote long-dead British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at some point in the distant past.

He has a point though. For every article you read where ‘experts' opine their views, very few really know what they are talking about, instead relying on speculation and hearsay.

This is the case for almost every field, where an opinion on, say, the future price of sugar due to wet weather in China is just that, if the speaker introduces ‘variables' such as market trends, consumer preference for sugar puffs over cornflakes and so on.

No where is this more true than the self-appointed czars of the environment and the economy. Over the last two years global warming has been written on endlessly. Now, I'm not denying such an event is taking place, but out of the 42 million results you get after Googleing ‘climate change', how many of those authors do you think have even read the forth IPCC report on the subject?

On the subject of the economy, you don't have to have a  long memory to recall the talking heads that would pop up un the radio here in Dubai, speaking about how the local construction market was ‘well insulated' from the credit crunch unfolding in the US. Despite being proved wrong, these mouths for the most part have not zipped up. Instead, some have gone as far as to say that they predicted the exact moment when it all changed over here - and as a result you should continue to listen to their ‘advice.'

Of course, such pontification is quite different compared to the practical expertise needed in our industry. You can't argue with the solid reality of a wheel loader.

By the way, I am fully aware of the irony of writing a puff-piece full of conjecture in order to decry the practice. Disraeli also said: "The most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."

So be sure your info comes from the best sources.

Greg Whitaker is the editor of Plant Machinery Vehicles Middle East.

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