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September 19, 2007


Do you have any actual data showing the UK's economy is a "train wreck" over the last 25 years? Can you give any examples of a government that did nationalize during that time doing any better? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_Kingdom

Actually, the page you linked to did a pretty good job of that for me....

17% poverty rate

81% of the jobs are in the services sector (does the phrase "nation of shopkeepers" ring a bell?)

73% of the GDP is in the services sector

$130 billion trade deficit (6.5% of GDP)

The Pound has lost a third of its purchasing power relative to the Dollar, since the end of the Bretton Woods era.

And, from the Wikipedia page on "Economic history of Britain" regarding the Thatcher era: "Unemployment skyrocketed and social ills such as homelessness and absolute poverty, which had been almost entirely eradicated in Britain during the post-war era, became common features of British life again."

OK, I have to know which Floyd song that's from (and I am a bit chagrined to have to ask - though if Roger W was talking about Thatcher, I guess it might be late-period Pink, after I stopped paying attention).

The song is called "the post war dream" [sic] and is the first track on "the final cut" album; the album is actually subtitled, "a requiem for the post war dream" in the cover art.

Oh, and by way of comparison, Finland has an effectively zero poverty rate, only 56% of its jobs are in the services sector, and it runs a 4% of GDP trade *SURPLUS*, all while running one of the most aggressive social welfare systems in the First World.

"Recession" is defined as a sustained period of negative or near-zero economic growth. I really didn't see any evidence that the UK has suffered from that for the last 25 years.

The sixth highest GDP in the world doesn't seem like it would be the result of a "nearly permanent state of recession". Mebbe you were guilty of using a little hyperbole, methinks? Or are you advocating the Venezuelan model of economic reform?

I prefer the following (NBER) definition of recession: "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months." And yes, using either definition to describe Britain may be a bit of a stretch in pure technical terms, but how else would you characterize one of the world's great industrial powers grinding the overwhelming majority of its manufacturing capability to a halt over the last quarter-century?

Venezuela is an outlier for a couple of reasons... first and foremost, of course, is its inherent oil wealth; couple that with the overwhelming poverty its populace had suffered for decades (centuries?) and it's fairly easy to understand why it has become a trendy haven for Trotskyists. Either way, not really a fair comparison (barely on the same planet economically, really) with late-20th-Century Britain.

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