Posts Tagged ‘Economics’

Labour was Profligate

May 1, 2015

ukfr_releu

(Click the chart for an unfuzzy version)

The New Stateman, Paul Krugman and FT Alphaville have recently given credence to the notion that Labour were fiscally responsible going into the financial crisis.

While Finland and Denmark were achieving a surplus amounting to 5% of GDP in 2007 the UK ran a deficit of 3%. The difference 8% of GDP makes is huge. The UK’s GDP was £1,732 billion in 2014, 8% of that is £138.5 billion. When a politician or economist uses a low percentage you can be sure it’s a gargantuan number.

Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Cyprus and Spain along with Finland and Denmark had surpluses in 2007. With the exception of Germany and Cyprus they all ran surpluses in 2006 too when the UK had a deficit of 2.9%.

The United Kingdom’s descent from fiscal Europa League contender to QPR-like also-ran was complete just in time for the recession. While Portugal matched the UK’s 3% deficit going into the financial crisis only Hungary had a worse deficit than Labour’s Britain. Hungary.

Pedants corner: these figures are based on Maastricht criteria so are marginally less favourable to the UK than the UK government’s preferred figures. Also, the chart says EU countries but data from the non-EU Norway is included over the past four years – I have no idea why Eurostat has them in this dataset .

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The Framing of Political Arguments

January 16, 2008

The usual terminology of political language is stupid. What is ‘left’ and what is ‘right’? Why should Hitler be ‘right’ and Stalin, his temporary friend, be ‘left’? Who is ‘reactionary’ and who is ‘progressive’? Reaction against an unwise policy is not to be condemned. And progress towards chaos is not to be commended. Nothing should find acceptance just because it is new, radical, and fashionable. ‘Orthodoxy’ is not an evil if the doctrine on which the ‘orthodox’ stand is sound. Who is anti-labor, those who want to lower labor to the Russian level, or those who want for labor the capitalistic standard of the United States? Who is ‘nationalist,’ those who want to bring their nation under the heel of the Nazis, or those who want to preserve its independence?

Ludwig von Mises in  Interventionism, An Economic Analysis (1940).