AS someone with an interest in economics, I should be pleased that there were two articles on this boring but important subject in Tuesday’s issue of The National. However, I find myself somewhat dissatisfied instead.

Michael Fry’s article (No grand design can predict an unstable world, The National, February 13) is quite frankly a complete waste of anyone’s time. Why? The answer is in the title, as it’s completely obvious that the statement is true, though Burns said it better and in fewer words than the article: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley”. There is no need to read the article in order to convince oneself of the basic premise.

Surely Mr Fry is not suggesting that we should instead not try to improve the existing so-called “free market” economic system he is so fond of, neoliberalism, because any attempts to change it are doomed to failure? I fear he is. Good try, but no cigar.

If Michael can’t think of any alternatives to “tax cuts and public spending”, I suggest he reads some of the economic work produced by heterodox economists such as Steve Keen and Bill Mitchell instead of the failed mainstream neoclassical ideology taught in most university economics departments and spouted parrot-like by politicians.

His curious choice of the best product that the human race has created since time began, Steve Jobs’s iPad, was in fact created by a team of design and manufacturing engineers of which he was the mere manager at Apple. The base technologies for the iPhone, the predecessor of the iPad, were invented for the US military through government funding, as described by Mariana Mazzucato (see her book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths). His claim that the iPad is a “net benefaction to the human race” is highly debatable for the negative reasons he gives in his article. Apple is said to have stashed $250 billion of profit in Jersey recently.

The other article in Tuesday’s economics bumper edition, by Cat Boyd (Neoliberalism has been the root of many ills ... so how has it survived?, The National, February 13), is curious, being an insight into neoliberal economic history, quite an obscure subject.

I definitely agree with Cat’s description of the importance to society of this ideology – it is indeed the cause of most of society’s ills worldwide.

However, surely its zombie-like existence is simply due to the fact that it is the rich elites who profit from its operations, the shifting of money from the poor to the rich being its main feature? As the rich elites control most of the media, much of politics and all of the big universities (especially in the USA), they try really hard to keep things as they are, with an army of complacent slightly well-off minions (like Michael Fry) to support their noxious ideology. They succeed very well.

Brian Stobie

I WAS appalled to learn that the Westminster Tory government regards the people of Scotland as second-class citizens by not allowing the Holyrood MSPs to have proper sight of their Brexit assessments. I can’t help suspecting the Tories have something to hide. They appear to be extremely muddled about what they do want. I am under the impression that Labour are not very clear either.

When we have an established market with our near European neighbours, Brexit is like a bad dream. We do urgently need independence to save Scottish jobs.

Sue Swain

WITH reference to recent articles and letters about the organised, and I suspect multiple copied, letters to local newspapers by the Scotland In Union group, I have taken upon myself the task of replying to each and every one of letters of this kind in my local paper. It is a wearisome task. I feel, though, that it has to be done. It gives me the opportunity from the morally just right-of-reply platform to nullify their effect and to speak up in honesty for the independence movement.

A good tactic is to ask the question: “What is it that you fear in Scotland looking after its own affairs?” Any answer and no answer is empty and patently false and liable to cause the originators’ suspension by their own petard.

Victor Moncrieff