I wasn’t going to bother with the story because its title was so ridiculius – Britain’s Productivity Decline Is the Worst in 250 Years – as if you could measure productivity going back even sixty years. But what they show in the chart is true enough, and about which I have been writing quite a bit. The Keynesian “stimulus” has been a disaster everywhere it has been tried, with the example here the UK. This is what the authors of the paper wrote:
Productivity was almost 20% below its pre-2008 path in 2018 — the worst slowdown since 1760-1800, as the Industrial Revolution took hold. The present-day malaise may have been caused by the end of the information and communications technology boom, the financial crisis, and Brexit.
And the authors are, of course, part of the mainstream and at its very heights:
It’s a “shockingly bad” performance, said Nicholas Crafts, who co-authored the paper with Terence Mills, researchers at the University of Sussex and Loughborough University. The findings will published by the National Institute Economic Review on Feb. 6.
Productivity is here measured as output per hour worked. If the government diverts production from the private sector to its own inevitably wasteful public agenda, you inevitably get a vastly diminished level of value-adding production, even though employment continues to increase because the real wage adjusts. Why people cannot see this is amazing to me, but here is yet more evidence of just how out of it economists now are. That the period in question is the period following the GFC ought to have been a clue, but Keynesians – i.e. modern macroeconomists – are notoriously clueless.
Let me again mention the cover description for my next book, which also takes us back to the start of the Industrial Revolution:
‘Classical Economic Theory and the Modern Economy’
Economic theory reached its highest level of analytical power and depth in the middle of the nineteenth century among John Stuart Mill and his contemporaries. This book explains classical economics when it was at its height, followed by an analysis of what took place as a result of the ensuing Marginal and Keynesian Revolutions that have left economists less able to understand how economies operate.
Chapters explore the false mythology that has obscured the arguments of classical economists, clouding to the point of near invisibility the theories they had developed. Kates offers a thorough understanding of the operation of an economy within a classical framework, providing a new perspective for viewing modern economic theory from the outside. This provocative book not only explains the meaning of Say’s Law in an accessible way, but also the origins of the Keynesian revolution and Keynes’s pathway in writing The General Theory. It provides a new look at the classical theory of value at its height that was not based, as so many now wrongly believe, on the labour theory of value.
A crucial read for economic policy-makers seeking to understand the operation of a market economy, this book should also be of keen interest to economists generally as well as scholars in the history of economic thought.
My book is premised on the belief that a modern economist is incapable of understanding what’s wrong with modern economic policy. The paper discussed demonstrates yet again how true this is.