Ann Pettifor

Faux optimism & flawed economics

December 1st, 2009

There was much huffing and puffing by the cheerleaders for premature economic recovery when the Office for National Statistics revealed that the UK was still in recession last week. These same ‘pied pipers’ tried to discredit the ONS’s previous factual announcements. Now the CBI has reported an ‘unexpected’ dip in sales in the service sector and then there was a ‘surprise’ dip in manufacturing during November.

No surprise to those of us living in the real world – with no vested interest in talking up stocks and shares.

And no surprise to those of us watching thousands of jobs disappear as companies as varied as Borders, First Quench (Threshers and other drinks outlets) and General Motors in Luton – cut back, or close down.

And no surprise to the millions of workers whose compensation has fallen for five straight quarters on an annual basis.  I am grateful to Graham Turner of GFC Economics for the chart below – and strongly recommend his latest book ‘No Way to Run an Economy’


2 thoughts on “Faux optimism & flawed economics”

  1. Quite right, Ann. Once again “on the money” as it were. Completely agree about Turner’s No Way to Run an Economy. It is great that he

    includes clearly presented data, but I especially like his chapter, “Structural Causes of the Recession”. And in this respect, may I recommend

    three books that complement and can be seen as reinforcing Turner’s analysis?

    The first is a delightfully clear denunciation of Thatcher

    ‘s policies by Nicholas Kaldor in his speeches in the House of Lords in the late seventies and early eighties collected in The Economic

    Consequences of Mrs Thatcher. They have, I think, become more relevant as Cameron has become more Thatcherite in his orientation.

    The second

    is a study relevant to Turner’s discussion of Marx that directly compares Marx with Keynes and finds them more similar than Keynes thought they

    were. It is Claudio Sardoni’s Marx and Keynes on Economic Recession.

    The third is the late Andrew Glyn’s Capitalism Unleashed, published a

    little less than two years before his untimely death.

    None of my suggestions can replace Turner’s analysis, only add to its context. Hence,

    given that Turner is working in a well established tradition, why can we not get Osborne, Cable, or Darling to listen to analysts like Turner or

    yourself? There is evidence that respect for Osborne is nonexistent, but this is not so for either Cable or Darling. But they seem to be incapable

    of utilizing the work of analysts like you or Turner. What is to be done?

  2. Ann,

    In America its always said the Middle Classes whose standard of living has been static and then falling over the last 30


    In Britain The Left tends to not identify with the middle classes so much. But is this subtle impoverishment the same here?

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