May 30

Economics whether practised by what can be called left or right/neo Classical/neo Liberals can come across as an esoteric practice. It allows enough phonies to practice it that politicians can always find solace in some nutter – our own George Osborne uses a crack smoking woman beater for instance.

The myth spreading was particularly apparent in the Election. Labour was accused of profligacy and numbers produced to show the debt was not that high historically. I made the point Labour were profligate and spent badly and as incompetence of graft via war, PFI and the massive subsidies to Finance and other industries – whether this was historically significant incompetence is moot. The Conservatives were accused of halting austerity but again mathematically the deficit reduction slowed was not stopped and hence you can claim it was still austerity. Yet Britain has not run a budget surplus even ignoring interest on prior debt. In the end one cannot crib the recovery in GDP save to say it’s still lower per capita than in 2007. One can also say it’s even less evenly divided – worse as of course more people now working. Better to argue that it’s a recovery in rents and asset prices is pointless and does not reward work or rebalance the economy. The glut of low wage jobs contradicts the Govt’s stated aims on Immigration and costs a fortune in subsidy. It has so far been austerity for the poorest and barely saved a brass razoo other than emasculating possibly essential investment.

The other well umm is this is the most anaemic recovery in 300 years and whilst the UK’s not on a cycle with other powers meaning we grow faster now whilst others slow it is clear to all bar Labour supporting cheerleaders that it’s not exactly been a gangbusters recovery anywhere. Again far better to point to the whole world’s neo Liberal nuttery as a cause of stagnation. You can draw lines on a graph and say growth should be 3% and inflation 2% but to me that is meaningless drawing lines between selected points on graphs and saying that used to be a path in a time period. Arbitrary End Point analysis.

The ultimate was of course Ed Balls double dip obsession. Seriously which is worse 0.1,0.1,0.1 0.1 0.1 quarterly growth rates or 1%, -0.1%, 1%, -0.1% 1%? Why not say weak growth not some contrived phrase?

The point is Economics needs to escape this world of silly rules and definitions and esoteric arguments. One of the central precepts of neo Liberalism is to make semantics and legality high priorities regardless of right or wrong or value of ideas and commentary. If I were an economist I would clearly aim to be Heterodox.

written by reaction \\ tags: , , , , ,