6th December, 2009
The Observer asked a small group of people to comment in advance of next Wednesday’s Pre-Budget Report. This from yours truly:
“Public debt will rise higher if government slashes spending, and recovery will elude us. Unemployment has high costs, but productive government spending, unlike private spending, pays for itself by creating jobs that generate tax revenues and cut welfare benefits.
Will the bond markets revolt and raise interest rates? No, because the markets apply common sense, as they did when Britain exited the exchange rate mechanism. Despite a rise in government debt from 40% to about 70% of GDP, and the extension of the Bank of England’s balance sheet by £200bn, bond markets have been positive – only too grateful for a safe haven in turbulent times. Confidence in sterling will only return when the economy recovers, and only then. Without public investment compensating for the collapse in private investment, there is little hope of recovery or confidence.”
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’
29 October, 2009
Dan Roberts has a great column in the Guardian today. He asks the right questions. First, why is the Treasury spending £8 billion of taxpayers money reinflating the housing market? Second, why is the Treasury encouraging this now nationalised bank to increase mortgage lending, when the productive sector of the economy – companies, small businesses et al – are being starved of loans from taxpayer-bailed-out-banks, or else having to borrow at usurious rates?
A superb report from the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change at Manchester (“An alternative report on UK banking reform”) suggests the answer: The nationalisation of Northern Rock is being treated as an “equity style turn around”, with the overarching objective of protecting and creating value for the taxpayer as shareholder.
“It is not clear whether the banks have been nationalised or the Treasury has been privatised as a new kind of investment fund.”
It makes perfect sense doesn’t it, given that the Treasury is advised on these matters (some would say it has been captured) almost exclusively by bankers? Get reading the CRESC report -its excellent - the first piece of independent, academic thinking on reform of the banking sector to have crossed my path.
The Motley Fool, September 2nd, 2009
Motley Fool blogger TMF Sinchiruna spotlights the Times interview, describing me as “once ridiculed, later vindicated…” TMF Sinchiruna goes on to say: “Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, Niall Fergusson, Ann Pettifor … these are the voices that I believe investors need to hear. Turn off the tv and look deep into the events of last year and consider for yourselves whether anything more than a hail-mary reflationary maelstrom has been heaped upon the fire that started it all.”
Read the Motley Fool article >
Also just did an interview for You and Yours on Radio 4 which was broadcast Wednesday. You can listen to it here.
From Open Democracy: August 13, 2009
“A single day, 9 August 2007, will go down in history as ‘Debtonation Day’ – the beginning of the end of the deregulation and privatisation of finance that marks the era of globalisation.”
I wrote these words on 13 August 2007, in anticipation that the great stock-market collapse of four days earlier presaged the end of the era of neo-liberal globalisation.
So it has proved.
Read Open Democracy article>
Ann Pettifor – 11th June 2009 – For the Guardian Online.
A banker, Alan Clarke of BNP Paribas, citing a NIESR report, confidently tells the Guardian that the recession is over. Should we take the word of any banker – especially one that claims to be an economist – seriously?
Given that the economics profession was blind-sided by the ‘debtonation’ of 9th August, 2007, I am deeply sceptical. Second, given that this is a banker-induced recession; that reckless and often fraudulent behaviour by bankers led to a loss of $60 trillion of yours and my wealth (in the form of pensions, equities, lost interest on savings, and lost income from job losses) last year, should we believe a banker’s particular spin on the crisis?
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Ann Pettifor: 6th January, 2009, 08.00AM
A thumbs-up for the great work we (me and my mates, Colin Hines, Andrew Simms, Richard Murphy etc. ) did on the Green New Deal in an editorial in today’s Guardian discussing green new jobs, plus how to reconcile environmental sustainability with providing a cushion in a recession.
Appropos the debate about Keynes below Graham Turner of GFC Economics and author of The Credit Crunch, submitted a fascinating article to the FT on this subject. In it he cites the experience of Japan’s failed attempt to kick-start the economy with public works expenditure in the 1990s.
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I wrote a piece on Keynes and monetary policy for the Standard, which appeared on Thursday, 23rd October, 2008. You can read it below. Today a group of monetarist economists , supported by a range of bankers, have written to the Telegraph objecting to a public works programme to help economic recovery. They are right that excessive liabilities on the government’s balance sheet could cause interest rates to rise, but government spending has a multiplier effect, and very quickly pays for itself. They seem unaware of this economic fact. There is some overlap between our views on monetary policy as an effective tool, but I disagree with their view that UK government spending has been excessive.
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24th October, 2008
The NS has published a short piece this week: “Economists simply would not accept that their model could fail“. An introductory sentence is not mine: “Who would have predicted..that prudent Gordon Brown (would) breach the EU cap on government spending?” Am writing to the NS to ask for a correction to be published.
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