Share this content
Illustration of the crisis concept with a businessman in panic

Characteristics of failing economies

20th Jul 2017
Share this content

Brexit means Brexit, so the economy can look after itself. After all, unemployment is low and inflation (historically) is low. But for some reason, Brexit seems terribly difficult to sort out. Is it really such a good idea?

Characteristic of failing third world economies are low wages and long hours, low productivity, inadequate investment in infrastructure (except for megalomaniac projects), not enough training to keep vital services supplied, and vast gaps between the wealthy and the rest. Does all that sound familiar?

This the recipe, based on the failed creed of neoliberal economics, that our government continues to see as the way forward. Effectively it says that to compete with China we have to be like China.

People don’t like it, but people don’t have many ways to say anything about it. One way was the referendum, which is better seen as a howl of rage and protest rather than what it purported to be, a sensible judgement on our membership of the EU. Given the way things are going, with much energy being devoted to unwinding the knot that could be better used elsewhere, the prize would have to be enormous (say, £350m a day for the NHS) for all this to be worth the effort. We know now if we didn’t know then that no such prize existed or exists, and we persist with our act of self-destruction while the rest of Europe laughs at us (when they’re not laughing at Donald Trump).

Recently we have seen some experts tell us that Brexit is collapsing, and others assuring us that it is inevitable (or perhaps both at once). Some still cling to the belief that we can keep all the good bits and dump the rest. The problem is that different groups within the Leave camp have different ideas about which are the good bits.

The one unquestioned gain is that Making Tax Digital has slipped down the agenda and possibly off the end of it in its present form. If there is one certainty it is that governments, vulnerable because of the long lead time of their large projects, shouldn’t try to second-guess what the digital age will bring. But I will have one guess here: by the time HS2 is operating there will be no need for it because travelling for meetings will seem bizarrely old-fashioned.

Overall, though, if politicians continue to pretend that black is white when it comes to the economy, there will be trouble ahead…


Replies (1)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Knight Rider
21st Jul 2017 11:54

I don't remember any 'experts' saying it was going to be easy to unwind 40 years of political integration. Perhaps once we have left a looser grouping of countries committed to international cooperation and free trade may emerge. We could call it the common market.

Thanks (2)