It’s ironic that this quote has been attributed to the economist John Maynard Keynes. Ironic, because economists as a breed are not known for changing their minds very often. They are not alone in this, of course. The social sciences, beset by so-called ‘physics envy’, seem at pains to be more scientific than thou.
I am very puzzled by negative comment in the media about private equity. Maybe the assumption is that such firms are nasty asset-strippers? What I appreciate about them is what they can teach lazy shareholders. By being proactive about their ownership they are able to drive improved performance, particularly for those companies which have languished in the face of silent shareholders for many generations. It is ironic that the anti-private equity brigade see this as somehow less ‘democratic’ than public share ownership. Indeed, like those firms with a high degree of employee ownership, increasingly the proximity of ownership to performance reaps huge rewards. Perhaps rather than criticising this increasing trend, shareholders should take more of an active interest in their assets?