Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's the economy ... stupid!

Remember the Clinton slogan?  Well it still is, actually it is more important now than then.  The dip at the begining of the 90s is looking like a equivalent of an economic trip rather than a full flat of the face smacking the pavement we seem to be in now.

Two things in two days have got me thinking (I know, I know it isn't good for me).

Firstly an interesting article in Vanity Fair of all places - I'm not a regular reader someone had the link somewhere I so read it ... it is here if you are interested.  It was written by Joseph Stiglitz who was Chief Economist for the World Bank.  I thought therefore I'd swtich off as this would be another article telling me little - I was wrong.  Mr Stiglitz speaks tremendous sense and is one of the few "up there" that seem to actually be able to sort out the wood from the trees.  In the article he compares the current economic situation to the great depression of the 30s - the setting is different, the industries involved as well but the parallels he draws are significant and for once someone who agrees a lot of the post '93 recovery has been based on vapour - i.e. not real growth in economies but simply growth fueled by debt.  Sadly he also points out the way that the USA (it is a very very USA centric article which is sadly a major flaw) recovered from the 30s was the need for mass industrialisation to face WWII.  Heaven forbid that the way out of the current disaster is another major war.  He therefore points to the need for "structural transformation" to move the economy to a new model.  I couldn't agree more and whilst he points to the USA lack of infrastructural investment the same could be said in the UK.  Ask anyone who commutes into London by rail whether they think we need to invest more in our railways for example.

The second thing is that after several years of softening up the locals and nationally with proposals that the govt of the day said were preposterous it looks like the new major hub airport talked about for Kent will get govt backing.  Now I know there is a load of stuff about the area, the people living there etc. etc. but this is the kind of large government back structural transformation mentioned above.  Along with the HS2 announcement whilst I don't agree entirely with this governments economic policies this is all moving in the right direction for me.  I live close enough to the proposed site that it'll be a concern to me.  However given where I live is too close to London but East not West so not near Heathrow etc. it has suffered with lack of inward investment.  We don't have many major employers in the area and it is a conurbation of over 250,000.  It'll be a massive boost to the area - the road and rail link improvements that will have to come can only help us attract new investment into our community.  If we embrace it.  Sadly I already see the "Not In My Backyard" mentality in the council and worry it'll be a case of people creating a opposition to it which won't stop it but may well mean we're not at the table when we need to be to ensure we get the benefits.

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