David McWilliams: High bond rates will leave us an economic wasteland
Years ago, when I worked for a Swiss bank, we would go to the Alps every month or so to examine all the trades we had made and make sure that the assets we held were sound and could be relied on.
If something didn't quite add up with a country where we had exposure, we would decide what to do in order to sell the stuff as soon as possible. For example, if a bankrupt country was raising money at an interest rate of more than 6pc, alarm bells would ring.
On my first visit to the Alps, quite apart from the complexities of finance, which were hard enough initially, the one thing I could never figure out was how Hannibal got elephants through the tiny passes. As a young boy I was fascinated by this story of the African general, driving his army from Africa, to Spain and then through the Alps into Italy.