Crowdfunding has always been with us – we just didn’t realise it

There’s nothing new under the sun. There’s no such thing as an original idea. It’s all been done before. Etc, etc. We’re all familiar with those throwaway platitudes, the classic cynics’ catchphrase analysis – usually of an initiative in which they’ve had no involvement.

But those phrases are rooted in a statement made by a man who began his working life as a steamboat captain on the Mississippi. What he actually said was: “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations”

Why pinball wizards and railway porters’ sons can lead us to a secure financial future

If a couple of old pensioners called Mervyn and Warren insisted that you sit next to them for a minute while they give you the benefit of their advice, you’d be forgiven for respectfully accepting their offer but privately hoping it won’t last longer than the time it takes you to sink the lukewarm cuppa you’ve just been handed by their stony-faced young careworker.

But when those senior citizens are giants of finance (one a swashbuckling 83-year-old multi-billionaire, the other a retired custodian of global levers of finance) – and the advice is their pronouncements on our economic wellbeing, then it is worth taking heed.