Times: Worst of slump yet to come, says economist

Article Published in the Times, September 1st 2009. Photo by Jon Enoch.

Ann Pettifor predicted a painful end to the good times. Now she says that only radical action can prevent further gloom

Phil Thornton

Ann Pettifor is a member of a select club — the seers who saw it all coming. Now the economist, who predicted the credit crunch as far back as 2003, believes that the worst is yet to come unless there is radical reform of the financial system.

Six years ago she parodied the International Monetary Fund’s annual economic forecast with her own — The Real World Economic Outlook. Then, in 2006, her book The Coming First World Debt Crisis, warned that rich countries were heading for a debt crisis that would overshadow anything seen in the developing world. Both were ridiculed.

With the British and world economies languishing in the worst recession since the Great Depression and with once-mighty banks reliant on government life support, she could be forgiven for being a little smug. Not a bit of it: “No, being Cassandra is not something I wish for. I hate this role of being a gloomer and doomer, as I’m an optimist by nature. But I am very pessimistic now.”

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The Bank of England has lost control

7th November 2008

Yesterday’s dramatic Bank of England 1.5% rate cut was an extraordinary admission of analytical failure. The Monetary Policy Committee of orthodox economists (with Danny Blanchflower the honourable exception) is well behind the curve. While it is tiresome to beat one’s own drum, I am obliged to point out that on the 12th July I wrote a short piece for the Guardian beseeching the Bank of England not to “sacrifice the economy on the cross of inflation targeting”. Today’s numbers from the Insolvency Service reveal that more than 4,000 companies have been sacrificed.  Company insolvencies have risen by 26.3% over a year ago, and by 10% over the last quarter. This represents the loss of a great deal of productive activity, and of thousands of jobs.

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Blinded by Dogma… in the UK Guardian

9th October, 2008.

Central banks’ obsession with inflation is stopping them from tackling a far more pressing threat.

Read more here…