Will Hutton today

Doom and gloom, the shrinking of the economy will make Britain a third ranking rather than second power.

Britain is going to feel very different in the years ahead. Already the markets have given their judgment; the pound has suffered a devaluation since 2007 that is bigger than those in 1931, 1949 or 1967. The British economy, in dollar and euro terms, is now emphatically smaller than those of France or Germany, and our new peers are Italy and Spain. Just as those previous devaluations all marked a long decline in what the Chinese call zonghe guoli, or comprehensive national power, so does today\’s. Like the empires of Venice, Spain, the Netherlands and Austria before us, Britain no longer has an economy large enough to finance our ambitions and overseas commitments.

Hmm. Although, you know, I think he\’s committing one of the cardinal sins of comparison.

He\’s pitting where the UK will be against where Germany, France and the rest were. It\’s said that German GDP might shrink by 6% this coming year. So while the UK economy is indeed shrinking in absolute terms, it\’s not all that clear that it is in relative terms.

That\’s what happens in global downturns of course, there is a downturn globally.

2 comments on “Will Hutton today

  1. Do rational people really care about their country’s position in the league table?

    Its not a football championship.

    We care, not because France has moved above us, but because our future looks a lot bleaker, and we worry about our jobs.

  2. Tim, you’re forgetting the impact of devaluation: ie even if real UK GDP had risen by 5% this year, we’d still be a smaller economy than last year when measured against the € and $ at market rates.

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