Is economic growth stupid?

Is economic growth stupid?

Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney reckons the UK isn’t as productive as it once was, and needs to be. Gary Stevenson disagrees. Is economic growth stupid?

Gary says a standard way of determining if the economy is stagnating would be a fall in living standards – but middle-class living standards are falling across the world. So the problem isn’t UK productivity.

And if the problem was a lack of productivity, why would that make living standards fall? Gary says they have collapsed in the last five years – at the same time as an enormous growth in inequality; half of the families in the country struggle to turn the heating on and feed their children in the winter. But this has not coincided with a collapse in productivity.

Most importantly, he says: if the problem is a lack of productivity, why is the wealth of the richest people in the world soaring?

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Almost every stock market in the world has hit a new, record, all-time high and Gary says that is not a symptom of unproductivity.

Also, last year, the world gained 141 new billionaires.

This does not seem like a world in which the problem is a lack of productivity growth.

It seems like a world in which the problem is inequality.

So why is Carney blaming productivity?

Gary goes into his background – he’s a very wealthy man who has been paid extremely well throughout his career, and part of a class that is making huge wealth gains, and he’s telling the rest of us that we are not productive enough.

Perhaps productivity is being used as a distraction, to take our minds off the fact that people like Carney are making off like bandits.

Productivity itself is measured as the amount of Gross Domestic Product (the profit made by a country) per worker or per hours worked.

But GDP is not falling. It is higher than before Covid-19. It is enormously higher than 40 years ago when our ancestors (my parents, Gary’s parents, your grandparents perhaps) were able to work regular jobs and buy houses – often with only one regular income per household.

So productivity is also at an all-time high; the wealth of the rich is at an all-time high; and the rest of us are suffering a very rapid drop in living standards. Doesn’t it seem possible that Mark Carney’s words are not true and he knows it?

Gary goes on to say the current BoE Governor, Andrew Bailey, who is paid £500,000 a year, said inflation is the fault of low-paid working people who asked for higher wages.

Economists are increasingly telling us that economic problems are our fault – or are not even there. A Conservative politician recently echoed former Tory prime minister Harold Macmillan’s infamous claim that “You’ve never had it so good”.

Gary half-excuses economists, though. He says they have a blind spot about inequality because they are concerned about growth. Is this wrong? Is economic growth stupid?

“What I see is a sick economy which has a growing cancer of inequality, going to the doctor and the the doctor saying… ‘Don’t worry about your cancer; grow your way out of it’,” says Gary in the video clip.

“We grow, year after year, and living standards fall. It’s not going to work.”

He says the Tory government’s entire economic plan is “Just grow,” without any intention of changing where the result of that growth goes (to the rich) – and a likely incoming Labour government that wants to grow the economy without even investing in it, and not putting any money in the pockets of the people who need it.

Gary says the question to ask these politicians is: “With what? What money do you want me to grow with? If we have no money to go out to our shops and our high streets and spend, then where is economic growth going to come from?”

That point is right on the button. Only days ago, This Site reported that shop sales in the UK stagnated during March 2024 – because people were struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

His conclusion? “Growth in our modern age has become, basically, a symbol of stupidity. We won’t go anywhere good when all the money goes to the rich. People like Mark Carney, Andrew Bailey, our very wealthy politicians – they’re not going to do anything about it.

“We have to scream at these politicians and say the problem is not economic growth; it is the growth of inequality of wealth. If you don’t fix it, our living standards will collapse.”

Looking at it as a businessperson, This Writer can say that another element here is the restriction of productivity by the rich and powerful. Vox Political is a very busy site with multiple new articles per day, but I rely on social media platforms to inform people that they are available – and we know that those platforms suppress sites like mine.

The result is that I make a very small return on my effort. I do it because the information has to be available somewhere, if only as evidence that, like Cassandra, I tried to warn you all of what’s going on; and in the hope that the pendulum will swing back one day, the stranglehold will be released and the social media will go back to showing people what they want, rather than what a corrupt power elite want them to be shown.

So, returning to the question: Is economic growth stupid? The answer is no.

What’s stupid is allowing the benefits of economic growth to be funnelled to a tiny group of very greedy control freaks and sadists who either don’t care about your suffering or enjoy putting you through it.

And many of you are about to try to replace one group of mouthpieces for these greedy control freaks (the Conservatives) with another (the Labour Party), without checking the small print that shows they are exactly the same apart from cosmetic differences, and expect your situation to improve.

That would be really stupid.

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