Pretty much the same as the old Heseltine economy actually.
In recommendations that are likely to surprise some of his Conservative colleagues, Lord Heseltine says that regulation, particularly from Europe, is not a major problem for British business.
“I reject the premise that regulation in itself hinders growth. Good, well-designed regulation can stop the abuse of market power and improve the way markets work to the benefit of business, employees and consumers.”
There certainly is some subset of regulation that can do that, yes.
However, Lord Heseltine believes that such complaints are unfounded. “If you want to talk about bureaucracy, you should start looking at the bureaucracy that exists. There is enormous bureaucracy today,” he said. “If you want to build a house or build a road or build a school or whatever it is, there are immense checks and form filling and regulations, much of which could disappear under my proposals.”
But it appears that that\’s not the subset of regulation that we actually have.
But I can tell you what the problem is with the general theory that Heseltine is working under. It\’s an adaptation of something from Chris Dillow (pbuh). Heseltine was indeed a successful magazine publisher. And his company (Haymarket?) was, as are all such companies, an example of central planning. For that\’s what companies are in the main, little islands of central planning in the greater sea of chaos that is the economy. Which is the problem that we have with successful businessmen telling us how to run the economy.
They know, absolutely, that planning works. For they\’ve done it. But there\’s two problems with this. Firstly, what works at the micro scale does not at the macro. If this were true then macroeconomics would be very different indeed from what it is. The second is that there is survivorship bias here. We only get to hear from the people whose planning was successful: disregarding all those who planned but failed, knocked off course by that general chaos. Something which does in fact happen to the majority of business enterprises: for all their planning.
Which leaves us in an interesting position. We\’ve the teenage trots on one side, who are adamant that planning should work in theory. And these businessmen on the other, who know that it works in practice. But both are wrong at the level of the entire economy, albeit for different reasons. Or perhaps not so different reasons: sure, you can plan within an organisation but an economy just isn\’t an organisation of a size or level of complexity that can be planned.