You should buy and read Restarting the Future by Haskel and Westlake. BUT ….

I have on my real and virtual shelf a score or two of books – the Keepers – that help to anchor what I understand about the world, economics-wise. They range from histories and memoirs (Steering the Economy by Sam Brittan, The Time of my Life by Denis Healey), through classics and polemics (Keynes, Friedman,Continue reading “You should buy and read Restarting the Future by Haskel and Westlake. BUT ….”

My noodlings on business investment, somewhat personal reflection

Today I published my latest piece for the Institute for Government*, on the UK’s continuous failure to grow business investment. The straw man I often imagine myself attacking is a policy wonk with a mental picture of the economy like a boardgame, where the Wonk gets to choose how much Investment to do. Then theContinue reading “My noodlings on business investment, somewhat personal reflection”

Umpteen reasons I am so uncertain about growth 

It is almost fifteen years since I first blogged about growth. My opinions have become more and more uncertain since the earliest “just boost demand already” days.  Since then I have contorted in all sorts of ways. Here are some barely connected thoughts.  Having opinions on growth is a little bizarre. The more I haveContinue reading “Umpteen reasons I am so uncertain about growth “

Unseriousness did not start with Johnson

One of the legacies of the soon-to-be-former prime minister (STBFPM) is a somewhat scrambling of the political spectrum.  As Ian Mulheirn observes, the fiscal approach he precariously allowed is far from right-wing, at least neutering the standard Labour attack on under-funded public services.  Remember, he supported higher taxes to pay for more money for the NHSContinue reading “Unseriousness did not start with Johnson”

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”

Freethinking Economist

Economic advice. No longer special.