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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Cultural compensation

In your editorial of October 2003, you quote the following from Emerson’s English Traits: ‘They require you to dare to be of your own opinion, and they hate the practical cowards who cannot in affairs answer directly yes or no… the one thing the English value is pluck.’ You then comment: ‘… surely we still stand comparison with our forefathers of Emerson’s time: there can be no lack of pluck, let alone confidence, in us actuaries.’

I found this particularly ironic, since in the September issue a (presumably) British actuary had snivelled like a Frenchman, claiming not to have an opinion! ‘We do not have a view!’ whined Julian Lowe (repeatedly!), in his response to Tony Silverman’s article, ‘Justice culture?’ – even though on the front page of Mr Lowe’s paper one finds the phrase: ‘The general view of the Working Party is…’!