Losing your capital is like losing your trousers. It is a real humiliation, and one not to be soon repeated.
The year 2008 was a reminder to those who had forgotten that there is such a thing as history and that the cycle of famine and feast in commerce, first identified in antiquity and well understood in the Middle Ages, was not suddenly abolished in modern times.
Is there any purpose to translating poetry? A poem does not contain information of importance, like a signpost or a warning notice.
Europe and North America, we are told, are less dependent on energy-intensive heavy industry than in the 1960s and 1970s. It seems we squeeze more GDP out of a barrel of oil than in those benighted days.
One of the admirable features of British novelists is that they have no scruple about setting their stories in foreign settings with wholly foreign personnel.
Since the attack on the United States on September 11 2001, and the US retaliation in Afghanistan and Iraq, there must be few people who have not felt a twinge of nostalgia for the cold war.