September 26, 2006

Guardian economics

Realy somebody that understands economics should be having ago at this piece by Mark Braund, but some of the points are just so obvious I'm going to anyway.
First, a substantial economic downturn is inevitable, and even if it's not on the scale of 1929, few of us will be able to escape its effects.
That is you are going to bring up the spectre of a crash caused by the bursting of a massive speculative bubble when there isn't one, and so isn't likely to be a crash. The economy might be ripe for a downturn but it is not because of the bursting of a specultive bubble like 1929 (or the bursting of hte dot com bubble that we got through without the fracturing of society). Any downturn would be more to do with this socialist government strangling business with regulation and tax, and so stopping the productivity gains needed to keep growing.
Second, even if, when compared with previous eras, the numbers living in absolute poverty are now negligible, growing inequality is still a recipe for a fractured society.
So even though we are in so much a better situation than in any previous recession in terms of poverty or inequality when it comes it will require massive socialist intervention to avoid a fracturing of society and social unrest. Like the social unrest of the years of union militancy (when the Gini co-efficient was at it's lowest), or the massive growth in the number of murders per capita since the foundation of the welfare state.
Today, not only is the ownership and control of land concentrated in the hands of a small minority, but access to, and control over, capital (the other key facilitator of economic activity) is also the privilege of a small minority.
Thanks to Thatcher's reforms (believing that home owners are on average more likely to vote conservative) there is a higher level of being owner occupiers than ever before. This is of course helped by easy access to capital in through the debt markets. This is one of the things normally brought up as one of the reasons for coming economic turbulance. It's a good to know that they actually don't exist then!
Speculative investment siphons off billions of dollars which could otherwise be invested in enterprises which make things that people want and need.
Ermm in what are these speculative investments invested in? Wouldn't that be stocks and bonds of enterprises which make things that people want and need? With the market directing most money towards the enterprises which make things that people want and need the most since that is where the highest return is? The current markets aren't perfect but they are the best system that we have for distributing resources, and we have been getting constructing markets since they emerged before the dawn of recorded history. They will continue to improve in the future. But that means working with our knowlege economic realities, rather than dumping them for ideological reasons as Mr Braund wants to do according to his Guardian Profile.
he argues that the discipline of economics has been hijacked by the interests of minority wealth and privilege, and outlines an alternative vision for economics which could address the twin evils of global warming and entrenched poverty.


Blogger Etzel Pangloss said...

"The economy might be ripe for a downturn but it is not because of the bursting of a specultive bubble like 1929."

The bubble is there, it's called credit derivatives.

The last few years have gone well in a large part to a massive increase in the money supply.

Whether the bubble bursts or settles, only time will tell.

1:52 pm  

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