Ritchie on GDP


So, services are continuing to keep growth afloat, just. But we’re not making things, we’re not exporting, and we’re not building. Indeed, as the graph shows, whilst Labour boosted production, construction and even agriculture after the 2008 crash this is simply not true under the Coalition. From when the Labour growth plans ran out in 2011 until 2015 all three of these sectors have declined. That’s no economic miracle, and if it’s a plan it’s a bad one. This is an economy that’s still not working.

Since services are the vast majority of the economy they’re the important thing though, aren’t they?

48 thoughts on “Ritchie on GDP”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    “This is an economy that’s still not working.”

    They’re desperate to find a killing add or soundbite like the famous 1979 “Labour’s not working” one that they believe stole the election from them and let in the Hated Fatcher Government,

  2. Bloke in North Dorset

    Hmmm, “ad” as in adverts. Damn after all those complaints asking Tim for a preview screen for comments it still doesn’t get used.

  3. Ah! I get it.

    Services don’t form part of the GDP.

    Hmm. That’s why they don’t care if they scare off HSBC. Actually good riddance. Maybe all the other parasitic banks’ll bu**er off as well. Then we’ll all be more equal.

    Hurray for the Courageous State!

  4. It’s one of those ideas that people just can’t get their heads around. And it’s not a Left or Right thing. You see it everywhere: people dismantling the latest iPhone and adding up the price of the components, as if that’s what the price of the iPhone should be based on; the common claim that most money is just numbers on a computer somewhere, as if that makes it less real than cash, which is also just a record of a number; people harking back to the gold standard, when our currency was based on something “real”. Most people just cannot get their heads around the idea that the value of a service is every bit as real and as important as the value of an object — even though those same people won’t work for free.

  5. I notice that loom production also remains worrying low compared to the 1700s peak.

    As a complete moron, I believe only things that can be used to prop doors open are worth making.

  6. he claims to back a green agenda. he should think about the environmental consequence of having however many million Brits going to work each day to produce physical goods, as opposed to services*

    * I know services still consume energy and other inputs, but still point holds

  7. “As a complete moron, I believe only things that can be used to prop doors open are worth making.”

    Just think of all those poor out-of-work Sinclair ZX81 makers. Pfoey to those modern “PC’s”.

  8. “Labour boosted production, construction and even agriculture”: aye, the growth of anything must have been caused by the government, at least if it was Labour.

    “after the 2008 crash” which axiomatically was nothing whatsoever to do with Labour.

    How can you bear to read the dimwit, Tim?

  9. But we’re not making things, we’re not exporting, and we’re not building. Indeed, as the graph shows, whilst Labour boosted production, construction and even agriculture after the 2008 crash this is simply not true under the Coalition. From when the Labour growth plans ran out in 2011 until 2015 all three of these sectors have declined.

    Even leaving aside that his point is shit, he contradicts himself within 3 sentences. He starts by saying “we’re not making anything” and then goes on to say “these sectors have declined”. Which is it, Ritchie?

  10. Quite, how someone who claims to be ‘Green’ can sincerely mourn the alleged decline of UK manufacturing is a mystery to me. Personally I thnk he is being a cynical opportunist, though of what I don’t know. May be growth, may be the Green stuff, who knows?

  11. I find it odd that so many of the people who bemoan the fact that we don’t make as much stuff as we ought to are also those who assert that we already have more than enough stuff and that the acquisition of said stuff is pointless and soul-destroying.

  12. All these lefties moaning we don’t make anything.

    Ritchie for example is always moaning about stuff, while never actually doing it himself. He doesn’t employ anyone, he doesn’t spend anything, he doesn’t do any economic stimulation himself.

    Even through his CV…

    Own accountancy firm – services, bad according to Ritchie

    Board games – imported IP, made in Ireland so what he manufactured the UK had to import

    Worlds Apart Limited – Possibly a manufacturing company then, run by him when the owners divorced.

    whereonearth.com – mapping services

    Environmental Monitoring Services Limited – green audit services

    Clerk to Trustees, Company Secretary and Trustee, ALRA

    So go on Ritchie, do as you say as it’s so easy in the UK. Go out, think of a new innovative real product, fund the design of it, the making of it and selling of it. See how easy it is. You wanker.

  13. OK, so the whole point of the Industrial Revolution has somehow passed him by. As for value of services, how many services has Richie consumed in transferring that ‘thought’ from his brain to my eyeball? Must be hundreds, thousands if you start counting tea-ladies at the DNS offices etc.


    Hmmm, ok, ‘value’ is a bit subjective there. Also, pass the mind bleach.

  14. bloke (not) in spain

    Which idiot was it who created a divide between goods & services, in the first place? Look at any manufacturing company & you can identify jobs that are also supplied as a service in some other context. When does a factory floor sweeper become a cleaning service operative? When he takes his broom outside? Go through far enough & you find almost all the jobs are available as a service. So that makes it not a manufacturing company?
    By extension, we do indeed make things. So you could easily say all service jobs, in some way, facilitate making them. Even hairdressers. Even services sold abroad end up facilitating manufacturing abroad. Or to look at it another way, a portion of the offshore manufacturing is being done here.

  15. I think the moaning about manufacturing is simply a roundabout way for wishing to have a large unionsed labour force again.

    The UK still makes and builds a lot, it just no longer has to employ lots of people to do it. I would hate to think what kind of political or physical apocalypse would be needed to cause this progress to go into reverse.

  16. BNIS,

    All value comes from services. The only value a good has lies in the effort of obtaining it. Even gold isn’t valuable because it’s scarce per se; it’s value comes from the fact that its scarcity makes it harder for humans to obtain than less scarce things. The value of a lump of gold is the value of not having to do a geological survey and buy land and build a mine and employ miners and refine the stuff and transport it and everything yourself.

    Everything is a service. Or everything valuable, anyway. Valuewise, goods are just tokens of services.

  17. Bloke in North Dorset

    Wasn’t there some stat showing that when Dyson shifted manufacturing abroad he increased is UK staff by some large amount with these new staff all being in better paid service jobs like R&D, product development, marketing etc?

    Also, I suspect that if it wasn’t for IT services manufacturing plants like BMW in Cowley would stop dead.

  18. It is also true that manufacturing all over Europe is being scared off by idiotic environmental policies that the Ritchies of this world think are just dandy.

    Fucking deluded halfwit.

  19. @B(n)is: yep, I used to write system software here in the UK for mobile phones being made in Korea. Is that manufacturing or services?

  20. We’ve already done this haven’t we, mobile phone has replaced

    Address book
    Alarm Clock
    Photo album
    Train timetable
    Portable TV

    And many more and added a lot of things we never had – eg, instant photo and video messaging.

  21. @MattyJ – well quite. Apparently it’s better to train thousands of people to wield hammers and stuff than train a couple of guys to run and mend some robots, while the rest go off and do something else.

    It’s not about ‘making stuff’ it’s about ‘people making stuff’, and even then it’s confused.

  22. Yes, is computer software a service or a manufactured product? Is Excel more or less a product of manufacturing than a factory churning out abacuses?

    Which is better – a factory churning out memory chips at water thin margins or a startup company doing something innovative with software? Not much silicon being used to make stuff in Silicon Valley anymore.

    If we startanufacturing bog-standard goods again as Richie wants, who do we sell them to?

  23. Rob

    Yes, Bill Gates got rich writing code and Toshiba, Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC lost tens of billions making memory chips. Back in the 90s there were lots of yanks worried about being overtaken in memory chip production by the Japanese. Turns out that it was the right thing to do. Present market cap of four big Japanese electronics firms: $63 billion. Market cap of Microsoft: $388 billion.

  24. “The people who complain that we don’t make anything anymore would probably prefer it to be measured by workers employed in the sector, or weight of stuff produced or something.”

    Wasn’t “tonnes of tractors” the favoured measure?

  25. Look at this from the lefty point of view.

    Can you really crusade behalf of oppressed insurance clerks? Can you fight like a tiger to relieve the cruelty inflicted on the back room bookkeepers?

    Not really. But hey, make em take up mining int pits and hey presto! You have your reason d’être.

    The only problems is that you can’t do this as the State. You have to get nasty fat capitalists to do it before you can successfully moan about it.

    Of course, it can be a bit techie for the poor lambs, things like making energy ferociously expensive, or tying up companies in masses of red tape tend to mitigate against their goals. So they don’t have a prayer of doing this themselves so they have to cajole the nasty capitalists into doing it.

    Lefties require their client base. They want to moan endlessly about improving the lot of the pigshit thick working class (who are only fit for manual labour really) but God forbid that they actually do anything about it.

    e.g. politician says she will do everything in her power to improve the health of her client base, but did fuck all about it when she was health minister for 5 years. Take a bow, Ms Sturgeon. (h/t the Knife)

  26. I was imagining the thought of some Lefty shop steward in an office standing up and shouting “Right, everyone OUT!” and all the software developers instantly leaving their desks.

    Or not.

  27. And then this.

    “And that’s fine: all accounting is approximation”

    Speaking as an accountant I know this to be true. However it does go against the grain of most of his comments on the matter.

  28. Just to clarify a point; it was the old soclaists and communists who cared about tractors. That’s why they directly measured tractor output. They at least recognised that wealth is production; they wanted people to be wealthy and thus have more food, which needed more tractors. They just had the wrong theory about how to maximise production.

    Ritchie is a progressive, not paleosocialist. His concern is not for how many tractors are produced, but for how many people are employed producing tractors. This is a different thing. The progressive preference is that labour consumed rises, producing fewer actual tractors. Thus, in his mind, when he talks of a sector declining, he is visualising the number of people it employs, not tractors coming out of the factory gates. The ideal Progressive factory employs as many people as possible- providing the “social benefit” of employment, while not a single tractor comes out of the gates (since tractors are used to produce food which makes people fat, lazy and morally corrupted).

    Progressives are puritans. Work is a moral good. Production is a moral harm. Hence Ritchie himself, who works very hard producing nothing of any value whatsoever.

  29. magnusw-

    A mobile phone also replaces a spouse; it makes constant irritating noises you can’t ignore, wakes you in the middle of the night demanding attention, and after a few years it’s looking old and you want an upgrade.

  30. The “manufacturing decline” myth again. The only “decline” has been relative to other sectors, manufacturing has been consistantly increasing since the 1960s. The UK has always been in the top 10 world manufacturing

    You only need look at JCB and RR for evidence. We’ve even started making washing machines again.

  31. Yes, is computer software a service or a manufactured product? Is Excel more or less a product of manufacturing than a factory churning out abacuses?

    Consider GTA V, from Edinburgh based Rockstar North, earnt $1 billion in its first 3 days.

  32. MattyJ – thanks.
    Industrial unit next door manufactures. We sell items but buy in, their next door is a garage – is repair service branch or manufacturing? Seems like we need many types of work.

  33. Ian B

    Absolutely spot on re: Murphy being the descendant of some Knoxian/Calvinist type from the 16th century – however, lest we forget – he is ‘a friend of the truth’

  34. “We don’t make anything anymore” is the common cry.

    Oh for the glory days, when Britain was the workshop of the world. When we made things that we exported everywhere, including to the Empire.

    Those days when countries like India, China, (I could go on) couldn’t even feed themselves and so were too poor to have the infrastructure or economy to make things.

    Or more recently, when communism stopped these countries making things of value.

    Yes, those were the days. Fuck everyone else in the world. When Britain was making things and others were starving, yes, those truly were glorious times.

  35. GlenDorran

    What creases me up about the whole ‘Green New Deal’ piece was when I asked him where he thought the bulk of these workers being employed in construction would come from, he had no answer – nor did any of his sidekicks.

    Anyone with even the vaguest familiarity with the following sectors: Transport, Manufacturing and Construction will know a significant percentage of the workforce is drawn from abroad – indeed the level of HGV driver(for example) shortages is such it is estimated this Christmas shops may actually run short of goods because there simply are not enough drivers to cover, even recruiting from as far East as Tajikstan. They would also know that the idea that vacancies in these sectors can be classified as ‘low skill’ is at best only partly true.

    His response – to call me a ‘troll’ and then to ignore me – what a ‘heroic speaker of truth to those in power’ (Murphy) , what a ‘powerful advocate for change’ (Arnald), a ‘latter day John Milton’ (Horrocks)

    ‘What a complete c$%t’ (most commentators here)

  36. I didn’t know that about HGV driver shortages.

    That worries me, as some of the HGV driving standards are already low. If they are recruiting from Eastern Europe then I don’t think that it will bring the general standard up.

    There are already too many people killed by bad HGV driving in London, particularly people on bikes.

  37. Glen

    I worked in the transport/logistics industry for 8 years and even back when I worked in London (left in 2006) firms in general were struggling for drivers and recruitment from Slovakia, Lithuania and Poland was just about acting as a sticking plaster – they then took the extraordinarily stupid step of introducing the ‘Driver CPC’ which led to a wave of retirements or people leaving the industry (and not just here!)

    The choice, thus, is stark – disregard the EU rules on the driver CPC (hard to do and now there are vested interests in favour of supporting the status quo – not least the bureaucracies tasked with enforcing the legislation and face driver shortages, or use often forged licenses to get round them. No surprise in an industry where margins have been squeezed relentlessly many firms choose the latter option.

  38. Glen

    FYI – The link in question – the Minister’s response is great – ‘get your shopping done early’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *