Allister Heath’s economic arguments are well-expressed

I like well expressed economic arguments. Particularly ones that are succinct and easily understood by the general public.

I’ve no hesitation in directing you to editor of City A.M. Allister Heath’s article Why governor’s monetary revolution will eventually backfire.  It’s a critical assessment of the bank of England’s new monetary policy.

One part of Allister Heath’s critique is the use of unemployment rate as the new target for setting interest rates, being “a decent, easy to measure proxy for spare capacity”. It’s his description of the spare capacity in the economy where I fully agree,  when he says,

“I don’t think there is much spare capacity that would be put to use even if demand were to be buoyant, especially in our open economy. Much capital – human and physical – isn’t lying idle but has been destroyed. There is a mismatch between people and jobs. The lost output and potential growth is gone forever.”

Where I disagree is not so much in terms of economics, but in in the power human nature, when optimism and confidence take hold.

While I agree that the spare capacity in the economy is gone. I disagree that the majority of supply-side growth will come from imports. Sure, our addiction to imported goods will continue.  There’s reasonable evidence that there’s some rebuilding of capacity occurring in the UK. John Lewis repatriating textile manufacture back to the UK, being one such example.

The aim of the ‘forward direction’ on interest rates is aimed at boosting confidence in all aspects of the economy. Optimism and confidence are the vital underpinnings to rebuild the lost capacity in the economy. The shape of our economy has changed forever, we’re in a post industrial phase of development. It’s the services sector, including media and high tech parts that will provide the balancing export wealth to pay for the imports.

I agree that the new policies of the Bank of England contain risks. But the twin focus on employment rate, and interest rate should be given a chance to work.

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