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”

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”

We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did

Several aeons have passed since I began thinking about covid-19 bailouts (IFG pamphlet out shortly, watch this space), and still I struggle to get my thoughts straight.  During that time, the blogosphere and in particular VoxEU have drenched us in high-speed, quality thought, even as the facts on the ground have shifted at speed.  JustContinue reading “We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did”

What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated

I am pathologically fascinated by political probabilities, and have been for easily 20 years: my first big speculative win in life was to “buy” Labour seats in the 1997 General Election at around 350, and I have been hooked every since. Here are some of the current odds. A meaningful vote to pass in 2019 Continue reading “What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated”

Would it matter if we built “a million too many houses” anyway?

The previous post about housing supply kicked off quite a debate (by the standards of my Twitter stream). It reminded me of how for 90% of the time I have been arguing against Ian on the whole housing supply issue and probing what will always feel like a counterintuitive thesis – that building many moreContinue reading “Would it matter if we built “a million too many houses” anyway?”

Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong

Around three years ago in some bistro in Soho, Ian Mulheirn startled a tableful of economists going at their cassoulet with the bland statement: “Housing? It is not a supply problem”. To call this heresy is melodramatic. We just thought he was winding us up. To question the mantra “just build more houses already” feltContinue reading “Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong”

I have written six book reviews this year

What a rare thing – a blog post. At the end of another writingful year I thought it worth noting a few of the achievements now likely to vanish into posterity. There are, after all, so many words out there, mostly words about words.  Like book reviews. I have written six this year, the mostContinue reading “I have written six book reviews this year”

Some writing I must hold up my hand to

I knock out about four leaders a week.  No, you cannot tell which are mine, officially, and in any case they reflect the FT View, not necessarily mine. Still worth reading though. (£), but so what. I also produce a few in my own name when so graced by the Comment section.  For neatness/vanity/posterity, hereContinue reading “Some writing I must hold up my hand to”