There are 2 analogies that I use regularly. The first compares the operation of financial markets to the flow of water. Just as water flows down hill markets will respond to a mismatch between supply demand and pricing. If something is worth doing/ selling/ manufacturing at an economic price then somebody will eventually do so, just as rainfall eventually flows into the sea.
The other analogy is to liken the operation of the economy to the functioning of a machine, and in particular comparing the “management” of the economy by the government to driving a car. There is little in the long term that the government can do to improve the car that they are driving, but if they drive it carefully they can minimise the wear and tear on the vehicle. Gordon Brown is looking increasingly like one of those drivers who disregard the manufacturer’s regular servicing guidelines and think they can diagnose the problem, but never get it right.
For years he has ignored the squeaking from the crankshaft and strange noises coming from tired pistons, which he has overcome by turning up the radio. In order to get his engine going he has tried turning the starter motor and pressing the accelerator. Now he is standing by the side of the road with a flat battery and a burnt out ignition coil, holding the end of the broken ignition key and telling other drivers that they too could go faster if only they did the same.