Keeping your smiley in mind, facts are objective and verifiable. There is virtually nothing in economics that is verifiable.
Economics, at its core, is really a branch of sociology, not finance. Economics is the study of the behavior people with money. When you’re studying people, you’re studying sociology. Toss in money, and people - who are weird enough on their own - get even weirder. It’s called the dismal science for good reason. Not that the study of economics is a bad thing, but it’s a tough field.
Chemistry stays the same. Put these two elements together, and a certain reaction will happen. Or not happen. Reliably. Physics stays the same (as long as you’re not talking about the bleeding edge of something like quantum physics). Put a body in motion and it will stay in motion until some other force acts on it.
Economics doesn’t stay the same. Give a man an extra dollar. One day he’ll spend it on food. A different day he’ll save it. Yet another day he’ll light it on fire. People aren’t consistent. And even if you can somehow do this experiment often enough to get some kind of probability estimate for what the “average” person would do, if you repeat the experiment a year or two later, the results will almost certainly change. Ditto for running the experiment in a different place. And that makes studying how people behave with money hard. It’s downright dismal.
But even then, you can state facts. “I gave 1000 people a dollar on this date, and here is what they did with that dollar.” Then describe all the different things they did. That is a fact. Whether it’s a useful fact is a different question. But it is a fact.
And as hard as it is to generate facts about human behavior, that’s what economics calls for.
Getting back to your post at the top of this thread, I stand by my opinion that you are likely spreading a conspiracy theory. I do that because this isn’t economics. This is something that can be verified. It’s apparently a sign in one Wells Fargo branch window. You have no idea why that sign was placed there. You have no idea of the circumstances around the situation. You don’t even know if the piece of paper is actually in a Wells Fargo branch window or something that some High School Freshman put together in Photoshop. But you take a single incident - that may or may not have actually happened because even that lacks sourcing - and spin a whole story around it, then spread that story as if it is gospel truth. That doesn’t even rise to the level of gut feeling. It is pure conspiracy theory.
Now if you want to have a gut feeling about it, that’s fine. But why doesn’t your gut feeling cause you to investigate this further? Why doesn’t it cause you to seek out actual facts. Where was this photo taken? What branch posted this notice? Why did they post the notice? If all your gut feeling does is spin some kind of story to fit what you think you see, your gut feeling isn’t serving you well.
And just so you don’t accuse me of not being willing to do this work, here’s what I could find about this situation.
You linked to an article at BilbaoHiria, apparently some kind of blog located in Bilbao, Spain. While they claim to be a news organization, this particular article lacks the hallmarks of good journalism. The article names no sources, not even a credit to the photographer for the photo included in the article. This particular line is somewhere between hilarious and criminally negligent:
Although precise details about the nature of these conditions have not been provided, the decision has sparked endless speculation.
The job of a journalist is to find those details. If you don’t have details to support your story, no competent news editor would run the story. But the author was right in one point, there has been endless speculation - including this specific article. He goes on to make his own speculations.
Alarm bells are going off. But let’s keep digging.
How about the photo so prominently displayed in the article? Can I find that? Why, yes, yes I can. Here you go:
It’s in a tweet from someone known as “Bitcoin News”, apparently bitcoinnews.com. Going to that home page, I see multiple links at the bottom, but none contain the name of any individuals, nor of any physical locations. No editorial staff. Some of the articles on the home page name the author. Some of them only credit “Bitcoin News”.
That’s not a good sign.
Another bad sign is that about half way down the home page, Bitcoin News invites people to join them on Telegram. If you are a news organization, why do you need to use an encrypted messaging app to talk to those you are trying to reach?
In a quick search of their web site I find no longer article on this Wells Fargo story. And the tweet contains no background or further information. Again, these are not signs of good journalism.
And one more tidbit. The Tweet from Bitcoin News and the writing from BilbaoHiria happened at just about the same time. If I have my time adjustments right, and assuming Twitter displays times as the local time for the reader, the BilbaoHiria writing came out about 2 minutes before the Bitcoin News tweet. Coincidence? I doubt it. (Or rule #39 - there is no such thing as a coincidence.)
So more warning bells.
I understand you are a UK Chartered Accountant. You are trained to perform audits of a company’s books and look for errors and omissions. I am a US CPA, roughly equivalent. Also trained to audit books.
In the US, part of the training is an apprenticeship, where we perform parts of audits under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This time is spent developing a sixth sense, a gut feeling, as you put it, for things that are wrong.
Now I’m the first to admit that I’m not the world’s greatest auditor. In fact, I have said publicly before that if I were to perform an audit today without supervision, I would be committing malpractice. I have been away from auditing for too long. But I still have a well-developed sense of something being wrong. And that sense of something being wrong is going off loud and clear. Not about Wells Fargo, mind you. But about your ability to sense decent news coverage from conspiracy theories. This Wells Fargo “article” you linked is nothing more than baseless speculation. A conspiracy theory.
And I’m pretty tired of conspiracy theories, aka LIES. They are tearing my country, and parts of the whole world, apart. We need to stop lying to ourselves and passing those lies on to each other.