The FT notes this morning that ‘a 30-year trend of trade growing at twice the speed of the global economy has ended’.

There is wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of the crash to follow. But I suggest another hypothesis. It is that materially many (by no means all) simply have enough ‘stuff’ now and the idea that growth is dependent upon forever having more may be an extrapolation that simply does not hold true anymore.

Three thoughts then follow. The first is that the time for redistribution of material well being is already long overdue and should now happen.

The second is that if we have enough stuff what will the impact be on services?

And thirdly, just possibly, might this suggest we can move to a more enlightened era where the achievement of potential and not the accumulation of material goods becomes the goal of society? I know it’s a long shot, but it has to be mentioned.


If everyone’s got enough then why do we need redistribution? If everyone hasn’t got enough then we need to get on with creating more, don’t we?

And who in buggery has ever said that the goal of society is the acquisition of material goods? Especially given that what 80% (or whatever) of what the society actually does is already services.

12 thoughts on “You what?”

  1. And while we’re at it, he claims that growth is unsustainable unless it’s powered by increasing wages. That’s right, increasing the wages of people who already have enough ‘stuff’ is the only way to achieve sustainable growth.

  2. When your financial daily is red in tooth & claw, you do have to wonder.
    A prediction.
    One day, in the not so distant future, we’ll all be congratulating ourselves thanks to global trade almost everyone on the planet has wealth & comfort beyond today’s wildest dreams. And, at that point, a scruffy pot bellied little man in down at heel shoes, sellotaped together spectacles & a grubby Che Guavara t-shirt, will walk up to the podium & claim all the credit

  3. Ahh… that article comes from Tax Research UK (the Murphmeister) based on a observation by someone at the FT.

    Phew. For a minute there I thought the contagion of complete stupidity was spreading faster than anyone suspected.

    It really is bizarre how we have seen nations collapse and find themselves on the verge of collapse as a result of such “enlightened” philosophy yet some people still believe that the answer is more of the same.

    Bertram Scudder is alive and well.

  4. I don’t buy this. It makes sense to believe that there is enough in aggregate that redistribution would result in everyone individually having enough. It’s wrong, and the conclusions he draws from this “stylised fact” are likely also wrong, but the initial statement isn’t self-contradictory.

  5. Richard>

    Who decides what’s ‘enough’ except people themselves? Plainly, very few people feel they have too much.

  6. Russell Brand’s a stupid cunt and I’d like to shear the fucker with a pair of blunt secaturs.

    Sort of a comment blended with an observation. but it’s the best I can do at short notice Andrew.

  7. The wage differential between China and the UK has shrunk as a consequence of the growth in China’s economy (partly fuelled by massive capital investment from richer countries) and the recession in the UK, so more stuff is being made locally instead of being imported from China (the rise in the price of oil to fuel container ships is a minor addition to the reason).
    Clearly, Murphy was not listening in his elementary economics lectures (but hasn’t he already admitted that?).

  8. Dear Andrew M

    I had been having a perfectly pleasant day until I followed the youtube link you posted.

    I am now allowing myself an exceptional derogation from my normal and self-imposed no-gin-before-6pm rule.

  9. @ Richard Allen – There has always been “enough” of everything so that everyone can have “enough”.

    The problem is that it has always required people to get off their arse in order to reap their share.

    Those crops can’t be reaped unless someone has sown.

    T’was always thus.

    The problem with people like whoever wrote that brain-fart of an article is that they cut in at the reaping end without consideration for the sowing end – they just assume that the harvest will always be there for the reaping.

    If there’s “enough” then surely we can all just sit back now and enjoy it all?

    Everyone hand in your notice at work. Close down your own business. We have enough.

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