Each day, FT readers post thousands of comments responding to our stories: opinions, critiques, personal experiences and even the occasional joke. You talk, we listen. Here are highlights from the best of them.
ON THE DONALD TRUMP PHENOMENON
“What are Americans supposed to do? Keep drinking the Kool-Aid? Take the Blue Pill? Americans in general are completely powerless. They are ruled by selfish elites, and it is ugly. The trip to the ballot box is the only statement a little citizen can make. The reality is this: if the elites and Washington class were doing a great job, there would be no Donald Trump.”
By EdoRoshi on Donald Trump embodies how great republics meet their end. This column by Martin Wolf has received more than 980 comments.
“More on this story: Migratory birds are planning to boycott US airspace if Trump gets the nomination, causing consternation amongst Canadian ornithologists who are worried about contagion.
Plans to exhume the founding fathers so they can speak out against Trump are well underway, as is a plan to expose Trump’s secret seances with a group of far right psychics channelling the ghost of Mussolini.
A spokesman for Santa Claus said he was unsure if Christmas would be cancelled if Trump is elected — the reindeer are willing, but the elves are refusing to submit to background checks.”
ON BREXIT - TO STAY OR NOT TO STAY?
“I live in Europe and I am pro EU, but the UK government and Cameron are getting this campaign so wrong — all the negatives and none of the positives — that I am being swayed in favour of exit. To vote stay would be a humiliation by submitting to the fear of loss. [There’s] a complete lack of understanding of human nature by the politicians in the stay camp. Cameron remains the out campaign’s greatest asset.”
By Middle East insider on French economy minister sends double Brexit warning to UK. This article generated more than 1,000 reader comments.
“As a developer of large industrial projects that typically have 3 to 4 year construction periods, I can tell you that no large UK project in my space will be financed now until after the Brexit vote. The big turn-key contractors are very nervous about how the construction labour unions will react to Brexit and the potential end of legally protected free-movement.
Ours is a global industry. Equipment and components come from all around the world and specialists need to be brought with it. To what extent will this still be possible after Brexit? We just don’t know.”
ON THE DRIVERLESS CAR’S FIRST FENDER BENDER
“A human driver makes an error and, hopefully, that one driver learns the lesson. An autonomous vehicle makes an error and all autonomous vehicles learn the lesson. That is the real point of this story.”
ON STICKY JOB INTERVIEWS
Both of these comments are in response to Lucy Kellaway’s column Booby-trapped breakfasts are a rotten way to choose staff, about cruel interview tests many businesses try when hiring.
“I have no problem with the company who found that a suspiciously high percentage of applicants from a certain Ivy League school listed chess as a prime hobby. They had obviously been coached to list this since it looked intelligent, competitive and strategic. The reaction of the candidates when challenged to a game during the interview became a source of great amusement.”
By Gamma God
“Is not the point here that we are all guilty of making, or trying to make, instant decisions about someone’s character based on a tiny amounts of evidence? It simply cannot be done, and we are kidding ourselves that we have cracked the code of accurate immediate personality judgement. Every ‘test’ is potentially a wholly unrepresentative snapshot of a person. Did their spouse leave them that morning, have they just received medical test outcomes, were they mugged en route to the restaurant? Unless we have the opportunity to observe the candidate repeatedly (generally by employing them), everything else is Type A thinking, therefore these ‘tests’ have no objective basis.”
ON THE VALUE OF YOUR EDUCATION
“I think it is a misconception to believe that either a technical or a liberal arts degree is better — we need both, and some people are more suited to the one than the other. The real problem is when experts in one field believe their way of thinking is superior and can be applied to any subject: economists applying pure cost-benefit thinking to complex political problems, natural scientists believing every problem (including moral ones) can be solved just based on logical reasoning, politicians devising economic policy without understanding mathematics. We would be better off seeing the value in plurality and teaching students to appreciate subjects other than their own.”
ON THE HIDDEN DANGERS OF VIRTUAL REALITY
“The novel The Light of Other Days by Stephen Baxter illustrates how some people may eventually spend their whole life plugged into machines that transport them elsewhere. If you can make it real enough, some people will choose to live in the virtual world. It could be better than spending your final years in a nursing home watching TV; reality is only what our brains perceive it to be.”
ON THE RISING COST OF LONDON PROPERTY
“What is remarkable is how these “luxury” developments are so ill-suited to the needs of everyday Londoners. Londoners do not need or want to pay many thousands of pounds a year in service charges for hotel style lobbies, “lifestyle” concierges, cinemas, reading rooms etc. Just give us well-built flats with reasonable proportions, good soundproofing and plenty of storage space. Local residents can otherwise take care of themselves in the capital.”
“A problem with the London house prices is that many people are making great profits while not creating any real economic contribution. We all see people who invest in property rather than, say, education, we all see agents and brokers getting unbelievable fees for very little work, we all see people choosing to tie up capital and extort rents rather than using it in real businesses. I remember from my first lessons in economics that the only way a steady state economy can continue to grow is through total factor productivity expansion, and that rents in economy are actually hampering long term growth. London is about to make a perfect case in point.”