For those of you who raised concerns about the “mainstream economics” of Jeremy Corbyn, here’s some of Professor Simon Wren-Lewis’s view on the subject; he’s a little more equivocal about it:
The UK’s Labour leadership election has become a two horse race: Jeremy Corbyn on the left, versus ABC. I must admit that it took me a bit of time before I realised who ABC was – it is Anyone But Corbyn. It is quite an achievement not only to become the candidate everyone is talking about, but also to be able to define your opponent as well. The last time I can remember that happening was – well, the 2015 UK general election maybe!
Anyway, a constant refrain of ABC is that Labour can only win if it has economic credibility, with the implication that Corbyn’s economics are a bit wacky… Some of Corbyn’s macro proposals are misconceived, and if the implication of them is that the Bank of England would lose its independence then they also go against the view of most mainstream macroeconomists. That, by the way, is why I did not sign this letter, even though I agree wholeheartedly that “his opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics”.
In the last paragraph I played a little trick that I hope most of you would not have noticed, and that is to equate ‘economic credibility’ with ‘mainstream (macro)economics’. If that seems reasonable to you, think about the following. In 2009, most of the world was following mainstream economics in undertaking a fiscal stimulus to combat the impact of the financial crisis. But in the UK a certain politician decided to ignore ‘economic credibility’, and instead proposed doing the opposite: what has subsequently become known as austerity.
You know the rest of the story. By departing from mainstream macroeconomics, George Osborne arguably won not one but two elections. Does his example show that there is nothing wrong with departing from ‘credible economics’ – it could even win you elections? That is perhaps the lesson some in the Corbyn camp would like to draw. It certainly suggests that there is very little relationship between policies that have ‘economic credibility’ and mainstream economics.
It seems doubtful that any of our resident Tory commenters will draw much solace from these words.
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: