It was Douglas Adams, in the third book of his famous ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series, who first explained ‘Bistromath’ but it seems that it’s the EU who have taken ‘Bistromaths’ and extended it’s use into Economics and created ‘Bistronomics’.
The first clue I had, that something was afoot, was the extraordinary amounts of money that EU politicians and bureaucrats spent on their expense accounts. More money has been spent in restaurants by Eurocrats over the decades than has been spent at CERN. Plainly, all this money could not simply have been spent on Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners. Even if we were to include ‘Brunches’, an obviously made up mealtime designed to disguise what ordinary people might consider gross extravagance, the fact that the EU have sanctioned more money as expenses over the decades than has been spent on the Large Hadron Collider indicated to me that this money must be funding some secret scientific endeavour, of at least equal, if not greater, importance than the LHC, but what could it be ?
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve realised that the EU must have been secretly developing ‘Bistronomics’. It’s important, before one can understand ‘bistronomics’ that one first has a grasp of bistromaths, and so below is what Douglas Adams has to say about it.
“Bistromathics itself is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the behaviour of numbers. Just as Einstein observed that time was not absolute but depended on the observers movement in space, and that space was not absolute but depended on the observers movement in time, so it is now realised that numbers are not absolute, but depend on the observors movement in restaurants.
The first non-absolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved. This will vary during the course of the first three telephone calls to the restaurant, and then bare no apparent relation to the number of people who actually turned up, or the number of people who subsequently joined them after the show/match/party/gig, or to the number of people who leave when they see who else has turned up.
The second non-absolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of the bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number who’s existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of maths.
The third and most mysterious piece of non-absoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the bill, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table, and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually bought any money is only a sub-phenomenon in this field.)
The baffling discrepancies which used to occur at this point remained uninvestigated for centuries simply because no one took them seriously……….. They were never tested under laboratory conditions, of course because they never occurred in laboratories – not in reputable laboratories at least.
And so it was only with the advent of pocket computers that the startling truth became finally apparent, and it was this: Numbers written on restaurant bills within the confines of restaurants do not follow the same mathematical laws on any other pieces of paper in any other parts of the universe.”
Now that we have a broad understanding of ‘Bistromaths’ we can look at how the EU must of applied it to the new sub-field of Bistronomics.
“The first non-absolute number is the number of people for whom the table is reserved.” – There are 17 Eurozone countries and at first glance this seems like an absolute number but then there are 10 other EU countries not in the Eurozone, some wishing to join the EZ in the future and they must be consulted also, add to this group the G8, especially the USA, and the IMF and one can see that it is a non-absolute number but it may not always be greater than 17 countries, bilateral and trilateral meetings between interested countries abound and if we include the Frankfurt Group we can see that the numbers for whom “the table is reserved” can also be less than 17. Some even speculate that there is only one country at the table eating alone, Germany.
“The second non-absolute number is the given time of arrival.” This can be explained by the previous paragraph. With so many smaller, though probably more important meetings taking place, when does the real meeting take place ? It’s always interesting to watch the leaders of Cyprus or Portugal arrive sometime after everyone else has already met.
“Recipriversexcluson, a number who’s existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself.” of all the concepts within bistromath which the EU have run with ‘Recipriversexclusonism’ seems to be crucial to ‘Bistronomics.’ Whether it’s growth forecasts in individual countries or the Eurozone itself, the size, composition, and donors of any EU Bailout fund, or the amounts of money needed to restructure financial institutions like Bankia, entire Regions, like Catalonia, or even Countries like Greece, the one thing any of us can be sure of is that the final, as yet unknown amount, will be anything other than the amount published. Some commentators put this down to lazy incompetence, I think they do the Eurocrats a great disservice, it takes a great deal of money spent eating in some of Europe’s most expensive restaurants before one can be so consistently wrong. It is no accident, let me assure you of that.
“The third and most mysterious piece of non-absoluteness of all lies in the relationship between the number of items on the bill, the cost of each item, the number of people at the table, and what they are each prepared to pay for. (The number of people who have actually bought any money is only a sub-phenomenon in this field.) “ And this is really where we are now. It is perhaps too early to say whether Bistronomics will be a success but one thing is certain, in my view; even if it only has the appearance of success then it will only be short step before all wealth, whether private or public will also become non-absolute numbers.
Perhaps, it’s only when this final outcome has been realised that the Quasi-Communist Eurocrats will be satified that all that investment over decades in expensive restaurants, would have been worthwhile.