Tag Archives: economics

Fresh thinking required

As global climate concerns underscore capitalism’s flaws, who will lead the transformation of economics?

“A toxic combination of 15 years of low economic growth, and four decades of expanding inequalities, leaves the UK poorer and falling behind its peers” – not my analysis but that of the highly respected Resolution Foundation. And they go further, ‘Productivity growth is weak. Public investment is low. Wages today are no higher than they were before the financial crisis.’.

The view from the doorstep concurs, “We now pay far more for much less to enable wealth to be extracted by the few.”. That general despondency contributed massively to the anti-Tory sentiment that yielded so many LibDem Council seats earlier this merry month of May. But few local campaigners could confidently answer the question that will be asked time and again before the General Election. What do your lot think they can do about it?

Our parochial economic despair is symptomatic of a far larger malaise – an existential climate crisis. Mass migration is inevitable as large parts of our world are laid to waste, as nature is depleted, as societies collapse, wars rage, and coastal habitats shrink.

On top of a self-inflicted Poverty Pandemic and global unrest, we seem stuck – fresh out of imagination. We need to tackle the climate crisis and reverse societal decline. Fortunately, there is no shortage of guidance, but there is a political vacuum where none of the main Parties dare tread – rethinking our economic foundations. There is near zero confidence that anything can be done.

Posted in Op-eds | 7 Comments

3 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel
  • Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face
  • London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement
  • Worst hit rivers for sewage dumps revealed as Lib Dems call for new Blue Flag status
  • Rennie responds to CalMac boss stepping down

Aid worker deaths: Davey calls on government to suspend arms sales to Israel

The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to suspend arms sales to Israel, following the deaths of seven aid workers including three British nationals in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The deaths of these British aid workers in Gaza is an absolute disgrace. These brave people were trying to help starving families in Gaza.

Clearly, the thought that British-made arms could have been used in strikes such as these is completely unacceptable.

The government must take swift action to suspend arms exports to Israel. We must redouble our efforts to secure an immediate bilateral ceasefire.

Royal Mail proposal to cut second class deliveries: Another slap in the face

Responding to the news that Royal Mail wants to reduce second class deliveries to three days a week, Liberal Democrat Business Spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

These plans are a slap in the face for families being asked to pay more for less.

The cost of first and second class stamps has gone up sharply in recent years. It risks creating a cost of postage crisis, as people feel forced to pay for first class stamps because second class delivery days are being slashed.

People shouldn’t have to pay the price for Royal Mail’s failure, after executives missed their delivery targets and paid themselves eye-watering bonuses.

London Lib Dems response to Khan economic announcement

Responding to Sadiq Khan’s joint economic announcement with Rachel Reeves today (Weds), Rob Blackie, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said:

Labour’s plan ignores London’s biggest economic problem – Brexit. Labour are too scared to say that Brexit has damaged London’s economy, making us poorer and costing us jobs.

For instance, technology companies now have to spend time and money complying with two data laws, one each from the EU and the UK. And too many European citizens in London are made to feel unwelcome.

As Liberal Democrat Mayor I will campaign to fix the damage done by Brexit, and bring in a London passport to protect London’s EU citizen rights.

Posted in London, News, Press releases and Scotland | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 28 Comments

11 March 2024 – yesterday’s press releases (part 2)

  • McArthur looks to include cruises ships in visitor levy bill
  • Prison exec admits no plans to bring back rehabilitation services
  • Yousaf’s economic credibility is down the drain

McArthur looks to include cruises ships in visitor levy bill

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has lodged amendments to the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill to allow a debate on the inclusion of cruise ship visitors within the scope of the legislation.

In light of concerns raised by local tourism businesses in Orkney, as well as Orkney islands Council, Mr McArthur is seeking to ensure the bill is both more flexible and fairer in the way that any levy might be applied by local authorities.

Commenting ahead of the Local Government Committee meeting that will begin consideration of Stage 2 amendments on the bill on Tuesday, Mr McArthur said:

Providing local councils with the power to set a visitor levy is a reasonable step to take. As ever, though, the devil is in the detail.

At present, Ministers have come forward with a bill that would apply to some parts of the tourism sector but not others. People in Orkney will not be alone in wondering why visitors to our islands who stay in hotels, self-catering or B&Bs should be charged, but not the increasingly large numbers who visit Orkney on cruise ships or indeed in mobile homes. All place demands on the local infrastructure and services, and all should therefore contribute. Anything else would be unfair and undermine business and public confidence in the scheme.

I am concerned too at the lack of flexibility local councils will have in the way any levy will apply. Just because it works in Edinburgh or Glasgow doesn’t mean it will work in our islands. Councils should therefore have scope to apply any levy in ways that make sense in local circumstances, such as collection via airlines and ferry companies.”

I support the principle behind this legislation but getting the detail right will be crucial. Unfortunately, that has not been a strong suit of this SNP/Green Government over recent years.

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Does trickle down economics actually work?

I will start by stating loud and clear that my understanding of economics is at a very basic level. However the concept of trickle down economics is refreshingly simple, so even I get the gist. But does it work?

Ed Davey addressed the question in his interview on Sky News yesterday, where he says that the practice of boosting big business with tax cuts will not help the 4 million SMEs:

And neither will it help those many millions of people who are struggling now, at this very moment, with the cost of living crisis. Even if Truss’s proposals did manage to kickstart the economy again it would take months, if not years, to impact on ordinary citizens/consumers.

However the evidence appears to be that, even in the long term, trickle down (or supply side) economics doesn’t achieve its intentions.

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We’re not going bust – but how will we manage our money in future?

In earlier days of Covid, I argued that we should spend whatever was needed to tackle the pandemic and not worry too much about the national debt. It seemed a no-brainer then but, as we move into post-pandemic or endemic times, things don’t look so straightforward. 

To outsiders, including me, money and banking can look horribly arcane and complex. Still, it has a big influence on our lives. Active democrats need at least some understanding of it. I’ve tried to expand my own understanding and here, in summary, is how I see things:

In the UK we are in charge of our own currency, which is not pegged to any other currency or to gold or silver. We can borrow in our own currency. This means that we can’t involuntarily go bankrupt –  we can create money to settle our debts. A sovereign state is not like a household. 

We have to be careful. If we put too much money into circulation, by spending too much more than we raise in taxes, inflation can run wild and it can be difficult and painful to get it back under control. Too little money can mean unemployment, empty buildings and idle machinery. Things are particularly tricky at the moment because we have inflation driven by the world price of energy and by bottlenecks in supply chains from Covid and Brexit.

The size of the national debt doesn’t always matter much – it depends partly on who is financing it and at what rates of interest. At the moment, nearly 40% of the UK national debt is owed to the Bank of England, which the government owns, and there seems scant evidence that the debt is itself a problem. However, the debt is often used by right-wing Tories as an excuse for the austerity they love.

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Book review: Vince Cable “Money and Power”

Despite his many years at the pinnacle of British politics, Vince Cable has always managed to maintain an impressive literary output. In 2009, while the party’s deputy leader and shadow chancellor, he published The Storm, an accessible analysis of the 2008 financial crash. This was followed in 2015 by After the Storm, a look at the aftermath of the crisis on British economic policy from the perspective of Cable’s five years in the Cabinet as Business Secretary. Most recently during his time as party leader, Cable even managed to find the time to publish a political thriller, Open Arms, set at the intersection of Westminster politics and the Indo-Pakistani conflict.

Cable’s latest work, Money and Power, marks a return to non-fiction and the serious economic themes that are his bread and butter. Inspired by Keynes’ oft-quoted remark that “practical men…are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”, the book is a survey of leading politicians over the past few centuries that – consciously or unconsciously – have through their actions changed or deepened our understanding of political economy. As both a trained economist and former government minister, Cable is better placed than most to take on this ambitious task.

The sixteen figures profiled by Cable are genuinely global in their breadth, and include Alexander Hamilton and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the US, Bismarck, Lenin, and Thatcher in Europe, and Lee Kuan Yew, Deng Xiaoping and Shinzo Abe in Asia. Yet just as compelling are Cable’s profiles of lesser known yet nonetheless influential individuals, such as Ludwig Erhard, an economist turned politician who was instrumental in designing Germany’s post-war economic model, and Leszek Balcerowicz, another economist turned statesman who developed the thinking behind Poland’s largely successful “shock therapy” transition from communism to capitalism.

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Economic planning, obesity, and lessons from Japan

Whilst many have discussed obesity as a national health problem, this framing ignores the curtailing of individual liberty that obesity produces; from the limits it often imposes on everyday activity to wide-ranging health risks and even potentially shortened lifespans. This framing is probably why the substance of obesity discourse revolves around how this often agency limiting phenomena is supposed to be ameliorated by limiting agency. 

As a Liberal whose BMI straddles the line between overweight and obese, I think that obesity reduction policies should be based on expanding the agency of people, rather than curtailing it through Pigouvian taxes or even outright fat shaming.

This can be achieved by learning from the successes of other countries, primarily Japan. According to the 2017 OECD report the rate of obesity in Japan was 3.7% among people aged 15 years and older, whilst in contrast, the OECD average was 19.5% and that figure stood at 26.9% in the UK.

What explains this low rate of obesity? 

More regular exercise? 

About 25% of Britons age over 16 are classed as “physically inactive” as of 2017/18 whilst at the same time over 40% of Japanese people (aged 18 and over) admit they don’t exercise or take part in sports activity.

A lack of poverty?

As of 2017, 15.7% of Japanese people lived on 50% of median household income or less, compared to 11.9% of people in the UK. 

So, what is going here?

A good answer comes in the form of a YouTube video by an American expat living in Japan. As a person who has lived in two different societies, he provides a unique perspective on Japanese and American diets and a beautifully simple thesis for Japan’s lack of obesity; Japanese people have access to cheap, varied and convenient healthy food in a way Americans (or indeed Britons) don’t.

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Daily View 2×2: 21 April 2020

It was a hectic day yesterday, given what I do as a day job, and today probably won’t be any easier. But there are plenty worse off than I am…

2 big stories

The more aging amongst us will remember oil shocks, as OPEC squeezed consumers by controlling the flow of oil, and thus the price. Today, the shock is that the price of US crude oil is negative. Yes, they’ll pay you to take it away because it’s cheaper to do that than to build new storage facilities that probably won’t be needed for long whilst consumption is so much lower …

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The UK’s responses to global economic changes

High on the list of public priorities in the General Election is a sustainably improving economy. Even avid supporters of Brexit balance their new-found acceptance of economic damage from leaving the EU, with tall tales of an eventual post-Brexit boom for ‘Global Britain’.

Brexiter MPs have at different times blamed economic contraction and lower growth on ‘Remainers’ blocking Brexit and causing uncertainty, an idea which hasn’t gained much traction. Slower UK growth has also been falsely blamed on weaker global and European economic growth.

The latter claim is at least is an acknowledgement by Brexiter MPs that the UK economy is integrated …

Posted in Op-eds | 11 Comments

Sunny Uplands and Baloney Economics: whence the falling Pound?

The pound has hit a 2-year low and is the worst performing currency this year and there are still strong headwinds ahead for sterling, particularly if a No Deal Brexit ensues.

The circumstances facing the UK economy and the exchange rate remind me more about country risk scenarios that I faced for dodgy Emerging or Transition Economies, not a developed and mature economy such as the UK. 

All bar our more mature colleagues will have no memory of the dark days of the IMF led bailout of the UK in the 1960s. It’s worth therefore sketching out what the economic-cum-financial risks lie ahead if the “Sunny Uplands” scenario of Prime Minister Johnson starts to take shape, based on his statements and promises since his speech at the doors of 10 Downing Street.

The pound’s value in terms of other currencies is based several factors. Right now, the increasing risk of a “no deal” is scaring away demand for sterling and for sterling assets, thus pushing down the price or exchange rate in terms of other currencies – but the markets sense that there’ll still be a resolution or a further extension.

However, in the event of a “no deal” we will face a genuine currency crisis as investors pile out of sterling assets. These events tend to lead to an initial “overshooting” of the depreciation and we could easily see a further drop of 10, 15 or 20% – nobody really knows. With liberalised exchange rates there’s nothing to really hold back the initial loss of the pound’s value.

Ignoring the immediate hit for UK holiday makers facing a steep rise in the cost of holiday spending, what are the likely consequences for a no Deal as far as the pound is concerned?

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11 December 2018 – today’s press releases

Amidst the chaos that is Westminster at the moment, at least somebody was trying to do something liberal. Admittedly, it wasn’t successful, but as another step towards a more liberal drugs policy, it was certainly worth the effort. Otherwise, another day of national humiliation for our country, as Theresa May found herself child-locked into a limousine. It’s a metaphor for something, isn’t it?…

So, what has gone out in the name of the Party today…

  • Lamb: Prohibition of cannabis is causing harm across the country
  • Cable: Govt economic analysis on Brexit misleading
  • EU confirms May has no room to renegotiate Brexit
  • Lamb: It is

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Labour’s Bank of England plan is based on ignorance

I am about 99 per cent less politically engaged now than was I was even three years ago, mostly because I think all parties lack true radicalism right now, so I find the endless rehashing of each party’s greatest hits albums tedious in the extreme.

But this week Labour did pop up with an idea that tempted my focus away from the books I’ve been meaning to read, and the friends I’ve been meaning to meet, when they proposed shifting the Bank of England to Birmingham and changing the central bank’s mandate to target productivity.

The first idea is based on the …

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What the Lib Dems can learn about economics from Donald Trump

https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/4860335535/in/photolist-8puuqx-nH9KhK-x5gkW-a2Yx4D-8putCp-a32qpS-a2YbjP-9kJJvt-7b8177-8puprR-6SKbQG-6SKbZG-oKCWvp-dkaUyr-v2EDLi-r1tFvY-r1tFHm-9kNUaq-4Mph7K-ChcB23-8puqfH-8pxBCE-8pxDRo-9kJHqK-aWwhx4-9VBBzN-5WEQZB-a2Ybz8-9kJLQR-9kP8co-4icUAV-9kMMvL-9kMSBb-9kMNwd-bYafLo-8purhr-9kKZfe-nzKQ2n-yNYtG-8pup2p-8purRn-hKv96Z-8pupSi-8pust2-bZPiEm-9kP7hq-a32p7J-8upwDg-5MSyss-9kMKy9Not least among my irritating habits is that I often take the opposite side of the argument to whatever the consensus is at any one time, not because I necessarily believe it, but rather to test my knowledge of my own point of view.

But there are times when even my ability to agitate for an unpopular cause runs aground. Donald Trump’s presidency is one where the well of mischief runs dry.

But there is a lesson for liberals in Mr Trump’s economic policies, as his actions reveal the failings of trickle-down economics …

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LibLink: Vince Cable: Politicians get lost in search for fabled Magic Money Tree

Vince Cable has written for City AM about governemnt’s fiscal responsibilities and how it has become less important to be financially credible.

Yet since the 2015 election, belief in financial magic appears to have grown. Brexit’s biggest appeal was a treasure trove to finance the NHS. Labour has caught the new mood.

A few weeks ago, shadow chancellor John McDonnell added £200bn of PFI contracts to a lengthening list of Labour financial commitments, including the nationalisation of rail franchises, energy and water utilities, free universities, and much else.

The IFS was scathing at the June election about Labour’s numbers, but it did little political harm, perhaps because the Conservatives had no numbers at all, and have since oscillated between preaching austerity and signing cheques when pressed. My own party, the Liberal Democrats, received an IFS Gold Medal in 2017, but it did us little good.

He then goes on to talk about a recent discussion with economics students who thought that austerity had had its day. Vince recounts the main points that he made with his response:

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Please stop saying people don’t vote against their economic interests. They do it quite deliberately, all the time.

I’m hearing the same argument uttered over and over again  – ironically by both sides  – in the Brexit debate.

Remain supporters keep saying ‘no-one in Britain voted to be worse off in the referendum campaign’, on the presumption that folk don’t vote against what they believe is in their economic interest.

Leavers, for the same reason, believe that they’ll get a great deal in their Brexit negotiations because ‘it’s in the remaining EU member countries’ economic interests to do so’

Both sides are of course wrong. People make quite deliberate decisions against their economic interest every day. The reason why political folk don’t realise this is because they are brought up in a culture of Fiscal and Monetary economics. The real world works rather more like Behavioural Economics.

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Story telling might lead to economic revolution

It is extraordinary how compartmentalised everything is – especially when we are campaigning in local elections.

We, few of us, who know a little about the way public responsibilities are demarcated between different layers of government, have a kind of sense of corrosive superiority as we expect campaigners to demand the right reform from the right level.

But partly this is just a function of sclerotic centralisation. The Treasury has a crushing monopoly on economic policy because, well – it always has.

Partly because of that, and because there is almost no local economic data collected about where money flows (the exception is bank lending to postal district level, forced on the banks by Lib Dem peers in 2012) – Whitehall doesn’t see the economic innovations at local level.

And in particular, they don’t see the emergence of a new generation of local entrepreneurs who are no longer prepared to wait patiently for the Chinese to invest or the government to give them a grant – and are trying to transform their local economies a bite at a time.

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Fixing the Budget. Are we looking at the problem the right way?


Whenever we read articles on reducing the government’s budget deficit the underlying assumption is invariably that it needs to spend less and obtain more taxation revenue. This approach is known as economic austerity. We all know from our personal experience that if we have a debt problem we have to spend less and/or earn more to get out of trouble. So that must work. Or must it? All politicians in all parties need to get this one right if nothing else. Any government’s spending and taxation policy impacts just about everything else in its ‘to do’ list.


We saw in the last Parliament that the Coalition ‘reluctantly’ raised VAT to 20% to increase taxation revenues. All spending plans were subject to extreme scrutiny. Various bodies in the Treasury, or the Office of Budget Responsibility had previously been at work and had produced figures to show the extent to which the deficit would shrink over the course of several years. Usually just before the next election, hey presto! We’d have that surplus we were always promised.



It never does work. After a couple of years we see articles and more articles in the press saying that the Chancellor has been ‘blown off course’ by this or that event, and the story is usually that whereas government spending has been kept to plan the taxation receipts have been disappointing and consequently the promised date of a budget surplus is further away than was first predicted. There are lots of articles along these lines for anyone who cares to search them out online. There are never any at all, as far as I know, saying that the situation has turned around better than expected.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 26 Comments

“Look after the unemployment, and the budget will look after itself ” (Keynes 1933). Is he still right?


Keynes was undeniably a genius of his time, but he wasn’t infallible. We should not just assume that he was always correct. As with all prolific writers we can cherry-pick quotations to suit our own political purposes. If we want to argue for more government spending, we can use this:

For the proposition that supply creates its own demand, I shall substitute the proposition that expenditure creates its own income.

(Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Volume XXIX, pp 80-81)

Keynes meant that the mere supply of a commodity is not enough to ensure the sale of that commodity, but money from all government spending inevitably ends up in someone’s pocket. This is a statement of the obvious, maybe, but he evidently felt it needed making anyway. On the other hand, if we are suspicious of what sounds like “magic money tree” economics, as many scathingly describe any deviation from their understanding of ‘sound money’, we can find this quotation:

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We need to balance the Budget over the business cycle as Keynes suggested, right?

Firstly, we do need to ask if Keynes did suggest that. There are arguments either way on this point.  Keynes’ view unfolded and developed starting in the bleak 1920’s in Britain. There was no ‘roaring twenties’ for the UK economy as the government deflated the economy to try to fit the Pound back on to its pre-war Gold  Standard. Keynes then did argue that governments should run deficits if private spending declined and reduce those deficits when future growth was strong enough. This has been interpreted by many that his intent was that the budget was to be more or less balanced over the business cycle. If anyone is …

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Opinion: Solutions to Inequality: Quakernomics and Economic Justice

  1. Unemployment
  2. Subsistence wages
  3. Hazards to Health
  4. Harm to the environment

These are the four results of unregulated capitalism according to Mike King in Quakernomics. In his book, which I highly commend, he details the history of Quakers in industry and how they modelled an ethical capitalism which served the community. “Quakernomics is the enthusiastic pursuit of economic activity as a social good.” We can always learn from history. In this blog I will explore what lessons gleaned from the Quakers can be applied to economic and social problems today.

The Quakers valued the entrepreneur, but gave equal value to the workers who brought new ideas to fruition. Equality and the worth of every individual were key. Owners and workers were interdependent.

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Deserving of more than a footnote: George Watson and The Unservile State

The Unservile StateThe announcement that the Cambridge academic George Watson had left the Liberal Democrats £950,000 in his will was one of the most surprising political stories of 2014.

George Watson was a distinguished literary scholar and a lifelong Liberal. After working for the European Commission as a translator and interpreter during the 1950s he became a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1961 and remained there until he retired in 1990. As a scholar, he was known for serious bibliographical work, spirited polemics, and a traditional approach to literary criticism. He also made two forays into electoral politics, contesting Cheltenham in 1959 and Leicester in the 1979 European Election.

Watson is perhaps best remembered by Liberal Democrats, however, as the editor of The Unservile State – a 1957 volume billed as ‘the first full-scale study of the attitudes and policies of contemporary British Liberalism since the famous Yellow Book’ of 1928.

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Opinion: Small plus small plus small equals BIG

ultra-micro economicsIn the heady days of the Thatcher government, when the hideous mistakes of Big Bang were being forged and coming to fruition, I used to run an excellent magazine called Town & Country Planning.  In those days, we were extremely exercised by the idea of the huge and mounting cost of rundown private sector homes. Who was going to repair them?

We don’t talk about that problem any more. This is not because it was ever exactly solved, but because of one of the more benevolent effect of rising house prices, before the oligarchs came in, was that it made a bit of DIY worthwhile. Instead of the government shelling out to repair all those privately-owned dwellings, the young owners went down to B&Q and bought a paintbrush.

It was a lesson to me that neither the conventional public sector nor the conventional private sector may be best placed to tackle the really intractable problems.  And it makes me wonder whether the great unanswered questions about rebalancing the economy might eventually be answered – not by the long night of the soul as we wait for the Treasury, but by the places themselves.

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Opinion: Bullseye banzai

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d do my own Mid-Term Review and not keep it secret.

Back on the 14th November 2012, I wrote a piece for LDV on how Shinzo Abe, the clear favourite to become Japan’s next PM, was telling the Bank of Japan to deliver 3% growth in the money measure of GDP (NGDP) on pain of having its independence withdrawn. NGDP in Japan had been virtually static for twenty years – a sort of Great Stagnoflation.

How’s Mr Abe doing just eight weeks on? Well, he’s Prime Minister, he’s told the …

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Opinion: The trouble with George – you can’t argue on economics with such a political Chancellor

Now that the flurry of graphs, snapshot analyses, spin-heavy briefings and counter-briefings is dying down, how to judge George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in the cold winter light?

For me it is a microcosm of Osborne’s time in No. 11 – a smattering of politically calculated and superficially populist measures, masking a dangerously thin grasp of what an economically successful Chancellorship looks like. Moreover, his claim that his mini-budget is fair because it is fiscally neutral doesn’t hold much water.

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Opinion: Inflation the biggest threat to economic growth

Economic commentators and politicians searching for that most elusive of phenomena – economic growth appear to be operating a back to basics approach. The Bank of England takes the traditional neo-classical approach to its role as arbiter of monetary policy – Quantitative Easing and liquidity schemes to expand the money supply and make borrowing cheaper to incentivise businesses to expand. The government are taking a much more Keynesian route to growth, announcing house building schemes and other infrastructure initiatives in order that the state injects the demand into the economy …

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LibDem MEP retains influential European economic role

Darren Ennis on MHP reports good news for the UK from the European Parliament:

British Liberal Democrat Sharon Bowles is expected to keep her role as chair of the European Parliament’s influential economic and monetary affairs committee, MHP Sources Say.

Despite winning cross-party praise for her increasingly high profile role during the economic downturn, Bowles risked losing the coveted position following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU veto and the decision by her UK Liberal Democrat colleague Diana Wallis to stand in this week’s election of a new President of the European Parliament.

Wallis infuriated Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt by standing as an independent, putting at risk a political pact he had negotiated with the Parliament’s two largest groups – the centre-right EPP and the Socialists – designed to keep Bowles as head of the Parliament’s most important committee.

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Opinion: Frankensteinomics

Why are Western politicians failing to tackle the debt crisis? Partly, because they do not know why things got this way. So they do not really know what to do. We need better understanding.

At the risk of sounding like an airport paperback I offer – Frankensteinomics! The global economy, I contend, is like Frankenstein’s monster – bloated, dysfunctional, and kept alive only by repeated jolts of artificial stimulation.

The mad scientist who first showed how to apply the electrodes was Maynard Keynes. Using State spending to jolt the economy out of depression …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Opinion: We don’t need Labour’s Plan B – we need a Lib Dem Plan C

Senior economists have expressed alarm at the Coalition Government’s economic strategy – coinciding with the publication of gloomy figures, criticism came from sources as varied as the likes of David Blanchflower, to Sunday’s warning over the direction of travel from a wide array of experts in the Observer. As we ponder the need for alternatives to the Coalition’s policies, a Plan B, let’s recap how Plan A came about.

The Conservative party have always equated this crisis with the government’s budget deficit. Their economic narrative, unchanged since well before the election, has been clear; public profligacy under Labour …

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Rejoice, rejoice, we have the answer to stock market problems: buy in some windbreaks

The following quote is a genuine quote from an academic journal. Oh yes.

Why have I thought necessary to mention that?

Well, it’s about the stock market.

And how windy the weather is.

And how stocks go up or down depending on how windy it is.

Not just the stocks of windbreak or heating/cooling firms.

All stocks.

Yes indeed:

Posted in News | 2 Comments

Conservative policy making informed by TV detective series

Today’s FT has an interview with wannabe Chancellor George Osborne, where he once again fails to give any real details of the Conservatives’ economic plans, should they win the next election. Osborne talks about his admiration for Sweden, although he is unable to put his finger on exactly why, saying:

“I’m no expert on Swedish society but I am a regular viewer now of Wallander”.

What next: Chris Grayling telling the Daily Mail that he is changing the Conservatives’ policies on drugs after catching up with a few episodes of Van der Valk?

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