Britain’s ‘success’ story – Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman writes: Simon Wren-Lewis asks how good British economic recovery — which is being touted as a wonderful success story — really has been. Not very, he says. Indeed. Here’s a comparison of the UK with two other major economies since 2007:


Austerity triumphant. Or, maybe not.

Part of this is the growth rate fallacy — no matter how badly an economy has done over an extended period, you proclaim success after a year or two of good growth. As Wren-Lewis likes to say, on this basis the ideal policy is to shut half the economy down for a while, then start it up again — that way you get 100 percent growth. Also, hitting yourself in the head with a baseball bat is a great idea, because it feels good when you stop.

But surely we’re also seeing the ideological bias of many in the news media. France is supposed to be a terrible failure, because it still believes in a strong welfare state — and so it is reported as a failure, never mind the numbers. Austerity in Britain is politically approved, so it is pronounced a success on the shakiest of grounds.

It’s all pretty depressing.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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4 thoughts on “Britain’s ‘success’ story – Paul Krugman

  1. Nigel Harman

    Austerity too who, politician’s corporation’s banker’s super rich um, nope the poor,disabled, elderly, zero hour contract worker’s police fire personnel nurses ambulance workers, ordinary people. People like us we are the one’s to bare the brunt of this so called Austerity measures does the government honestly believe we the voters believe the drivel that comes from their mouths, not anymore we don’t.. Roll on May we need change whilst there is still something to save like the country.

  2. Andy

    This say’s it all…

    “There was an interesting article about this in The Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago comparing Mexico and Brazil. It said that Mexico is an ‘economic miracle’ – the numbers all look fine, the macroeconomic statistics are great, the growth rate is going up, inflation is down – just perfect, they’re following all the rules. It points out that there’s only one problem: The population is suffering badly. The poverty rate is going up – it was always terrible but it’s getting much worse. Starvation is getting worse, people don’t have jobs; the population is suffering bitterly but it’s called an ‘economic miracle.’ Well, there’s nothing surprising about that. When Brazil was the darling of the international investors, Brazil’s generals said, ‘The economy is doing fine – it’s just the people who aren’t.’”

    – “Debt, Drugs and Democracy: Noam Chomsky interviewed by Maria Luisa Mendonca”, NACLA Report on the Americas, Jul/Aug 1999

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