Umm, anyone got a spare economics textbook to send to Sir Simon Jenkins?
The worst evil economics can inflict on humans is unemployment. Not lower pay, poor working conditions, costly housing or enforced migration; just the lack of a job. To be able-bodied and out of work is debilitating to an individual and a waste to society.
Figures todayfrom the Office for National Statistics and earlier ones from the OECD and the International Labour Organisation all point in the same direction. The British and other European economies are running on empty. Only public sector borrowing seems to prevent renewed downturn. Today\’s unemployment rate of 8%, or 21% of under-24s, is a scandal. An unprecedented one million young Britons are jobless. This squandering of labour and loss of wealth is stupefying.
Yup, so, if no job is worse than low wages, lower wages so that there are more jobs. Abolish the NMW for example. But that\’s just snark from me. This is gibberish from Sir Simon.
What matters is to learn lessons. The 1930s depression was in large part the result of a similar policy failure, of strangling money supply at the bottom of an economic cycle.
Indeed, absolutely so, the Friedman/Schwartz finding. So, what does Sir Simon go on to complain about?
The cabinet has so far a one-club policy: quantitative easing. It has printed £200bn for banks.
What? He\’s complaining about this?
Last time around the money supply shrank and that was a very bad thing. So, this time around everyone\’s trying to make sure that the money suppply doesn\’t shrink. And this is still a bad thing?
British economic policy remains spellbound by supply-side glamour. Big projects, like bank bailouts, are sexy.
Erm, those big projects are not supply side. They are demand side. They are aimed (howver badly) at increasing demand in hte economy.
Supply side projects would be things that aimed to reform the supply side of the economy. Like, say, deregulating labour, abolishing the NMW, fucking over the lawyers and accountants (and god nows those middle class rent seekers deserve it) and so on.
Actually, forget sending Sir Simon an economics textbook. Could we start with just a dictionary?