Leader comment: Maybe parrots should be in charge of the economy

Homo sapiens, we call ourselves '“ the 'wise' human. All the other humans '“ erectus, Neanderthals, '˜hobbits' and so on '“ weren't half as clever as we are now. And, as for the rest of the animal kingdom, they're just dumb. Dumb animals, we call them.

An African grey prepares to make a weighty economic decision

But, in study after study, animals are demonstrating they are significantly smarter than our clever-clogs species thought they were.

The latest, published in the journal Nature, describes how parrots – particularly the great green macaw – can make “surprisingly subtle” economic decisions.

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In tests, they rejected immediate gratification in order to gain access to better food sometime later, basically choosing to tighten their belts to ensure a brighter future.

So toddlers, some holders of credit cards, Finance Secretaries and Chancellors of the Exchequer may wish to learn from the wise macaw as they consider their own individual great economic questions of the day, such as whether to have another chocolate, buy even more shoes or golf clubs, or plunge the UK further still into the pit of its £1,777,000,000,000 debt.