I don’t think John Major was more unpopular than Johnson

So I saw this tweet from the esteemed John Rentoul and thought it worth pushing back a little. I remember the mid 1990s very well; they were a formative time for me politically, as I voted Conservative in 1992 and New Labour in 1997, I felt part of a very big movement indeed. (obviously watchContinue reading “I don’t think John Major was more unpopular than Johnson”

Lord Frost, and whether/how lower trade makes us poorer

I am very far from being any kind of an expert in trade. My policy is to rely on comparative advantage; spend less time on it and rely on others to do the work, more efficiently.  My familiarity with the topic goes only as far as some of the obvious signposts: apart from Ricardo’s comparativeContinue reading “Lord Frost, and whether/how lower trade makes us poorer”

No, the Chancellor cannot just ‘unleash growth’

but it’s work enough just to avoid causing damage In the wake of the recent Budget, I was asked the impossible question: what does this mean for UK growth? Has the Chancellor unveiled something that will boost Britain’s economic prospects? Impossible, and quite reasonable. The question is the counterpart to the demand you see commentatorsContinue reading “No, the Chancellor cannot just ‘unleash growth’”

Britain is trying to shrink its way to prosperity. It doesn’t work.

You may not realise it, but those empty shelves, the unfuelled car of Kirstie Allsopp, and thousands of pointlessly culled pigs all mark the “birth pangs of a new economic model.” Get over it, we are heading to prosperity, this is what it looks like.   The gist of the idea is simple, and much-rehearsedContinue reading “Britain is trying to shrink its way to prosperity. It doesn’t work.”

Shortages are really not such a good thing

I am writing this because my liberal instincts appear to be in conflict.  But probably not. Let me explain. First, I am a fan of running the economy hot, and think this can be good for productivity and helping the less well-off.  Second, I am pro-economics, and happen to think that means being in favourContinue reading “Shortages are really not such a good thing”

Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy

This morning’s perusal of the Guardian’s brought forth a small sigh, as there just below the A level story sat the headline “UK green economy four times larger than manufacturing sector, says report”.   Now, I have been marinating myself in sectoral data for months to write this monster, and pretty much know every sectorContinue reading “Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy”

Services matter, or more on productivity

I miss the speed and spontaneity of blogging, even if it comes at the expense of rigour and completeness.  More on those last two later. A blog feels like the right medium for a quick postscript to the much slower report I published last week, on what sector analysis can tell us about the UK’sContinue reading “Services matter, or more on productivity”

Is all GDP created equal?

Scott Corfe of the Social Market Foundation* has with his team produced an eye-catching report about gambling regulation**. The major headline: while gambling supports thousands of jobs in the economy, clamping down on it is nothing to worry about, because the spending currently diverted to gambling would go elsewhere. In fact, it would probably goContinue reading “Is all GDP created equal?”

There are far worse crimes than being smug

I try to avoid the Sunday press. From its echoes on Twitter, it appears to be a troll-fest through which innocents like me are unpleasantly reminded of the existence of columnists we’d thought had gone to pasture years ago.  And even the thoughtful ones, like Matthew Syed, feel an extra urge to be provocative onContinue reading “There are far worse crimes than being smug”

What you need to think if you are calling for a NGDP target

Don’t worry. I am not going to write another post arguing that the world’s problems would all go away if its central banks adopted a NGDP level target (it has been over 10 years now, give it a rest!). There are plenty out there already: this one by Sam Dumitriu is a good place to start,Continue reading “What you need to think if you are calling for a NGDP target”