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Economists support Labour forming the next UK government

Written By: - Date published: 7:10 am, November 27th, 2019 - 24 comments
Categories: Brexit, climate change, economy, Jeremy Corbyn, uk politics - Tags: , ,

One hundred and sixty three British economists have signed a letter to the Financial Times to say they believe that Labour should form the next government.

The UK economy needs reform. For too long it has prioritised consumption over investment, short-term financial returns over long-term innovation, rising asset values over rising wages, and deficit reduction over the quality of public services.

The results are now plain. We have had 10 years of near zero productivity growth. Corporate investment has stagnated. Average earnings are still lower than in 2008. A gulf has arisen between London and the South East and the rest of the country. And public services are under intolerable strain — which the economic costs of a hard Brexit would only make worse. We now moreover face the urgent imperative of acting on the climate and environmental crisis.

Given private sector reluctance, what the UK economy needs is a serious injection of public investment, which can in turn leverage private finance attracted by the expectation of higher demand. Such investment needs to be directed into the large-scale and rapid decarbonisation of energy, transport, housing, industry and farming; the support of innovation- and export-oriented businesses; and public services. It is clear that this will require an active and green industrial strategy, aimed at improving productivity and spreading investment across the country.

They also call for a National Investment Bank, increased government borrowing, raising wages, tighter regulation of the gig economy, worker involvement in management of companies, and raising corporate tax rates.

The letter ends

As economists, and people who work in various fields of economic policy, we have looked closely at the economic prospectuses of the political parties. It seems clear to us that the Labour party has not only understood the deep problems we face, but has devised serious proposals for dealing with them. We believe it deserves to form the next government.

David G Blanchflower Bruce V Rauner Professor of Economics, Dartmouth College; Professor of Economics. University of Stirling; former member, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee

Victoria Chick Emeritus Professor of Economics, University College London Lord Meghnad Desai Emeritus Professor of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science

Stephany Griffith-Jones Emeritus Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex; Financial Markets Director, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University

Simon Wren-Lewis Emeritus Professor of Economics and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford On behalf of 163 signatories.

The complete list of signatories is here.

Full letter here.

24 comments on “Economists support Labour forming the next UK government ”

  1. Bg 1

    All well and good, but there's the elephant in the room. Jeremy Corbyn is the Simon Bridges of UK politics. Unelectable

    • Sanctuary 1.1

      Ah, the voice of the despairing liberal.

      Corbyn is unelectable, Boris is a clown. It is all hopeless. Anti-semitism is rife in Labour, and if you dismiss my hysteria on the issue then you are not taking the issue seriously and are therefore also an anti-semite. But I've not been brainwashed by the billionaire media, no sireee look I support remain, see I am not a dopey ignorant northerner with halitosis (not that they would know what halitosis is, it posh for bad breath, giggle guffaw) voting to stop my cheap cleaner and making it difficult for me to go on holiday in Italy next summer.

      I am just going to vote for the Lib-Dem remain candidate and then spend the next five years complaining as I put on my tie to go to my comfy job in some office park in Essex about the hard right Tory government and how I've been forced to get medical insurance.

      because really, I am just as stupid as Boris and I wish I had gone to Eton to.

      So fucking predictable.

      • AB 1.1.1

        Yep – absolutely. It's always wise to remember that the claim that someone is 'unelectable' is always based on the desire to make them so. And usually because the so called 'unelectable' one poses a threat to economic interests of one sort or another. It's pretty clear that the liberal centre actually prefer a hard-right Tory Brexit over some modest social-democratic reforms from Corbyn – though they'll express that preference in a disguised manner by voting Lib-Dem.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 1.2

      The same will be said of anyone with Corbyn's policies. The UK press – owned by billionaires – will rage against them, to protect their owner's interest.

    • Siobhan 1.3

      The elephant in the room?..Are you suggesting these Economists are recommending Labour Uk but are unaware that Corbyn is the Leader?.and are you trying to claim that the anti austerity economic policies these economists are advocating would exist without the guidance of Corbyn? ffs..these policies have even been called 'Corbynomics'..

      https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/economists-criticise-financial-times-over-analysis-corbyns-proposals

      God knows how many times I had read how unelectable Corbyn was back in 2016…just before he won the second leadership contest.followed by the 2017 general election when Labour increased its share of the vote to 40%, resulting in a net gain of 30 seats and a hung parliament.

      Thankfully there are voters out there who base their votes on the reality of their daily lives, not the bullshit narrative of the 'Press'.

      "In 2016 we ran an opinion piece titled ‘Think Corbyn is a loser? Oh dear, you’ve been brainwashed‘. This was referring to the amount of smear in the UK press directed at the Labour leader. But, it seems, things have got a lot worse for the UK’s official leader of the opposition.

      No other politician in the UK has faced the sheer volume of smear that Corbyn has. This article by the Independent calculated that 75 per cent of all press coverage of Jeremy Corbyn, factually misrepresented him.

      When studying the last half century of political smears, Corbyn tops the chart. Smear campaigns agains him, in terms of volume, makes the national newspaper attacks on the likes of Neil Kinnock, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband look like April Fools jokes."

      (my bolds)

      https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/opinion/jeremy-corbyn-is-the-most-smeared-politician-in-history/18/07/

      • SPC 1.3.1

        "the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety" at the prospect of a Labour victory in 12 December's general election.

        the Chief Rabbi's article asks if Jeremy Corbyn is fit for high office and calls on voters to consider what the result of this election "will say about the moral compass of this country?"

        https://www.bbc.com/news/election-2019-50552068

  2. Paaparakauta 2

    .. until elected.

  3. alwyn 3

    For every opinion favouring one thing we have views going the other way.

    Try reading this one from equally illustrious economists. It argues that Brexit is the best thing that could happen to Britain. Not for them is the view that "And public services are under intolerable strain — which the economic costs of a hard Brexit would only make worse." as expressed in the letter you publish.

    Instead they propose "Brexit could boost the UK economy by as much as £135 billion a year". They also reject the Corbynite policies when they say

    "Professor Minford also takes issue with Chancellor Philip Hammond over his insistence that a post-Brexit Britain would still follow the high tax/high spend/high regulation European economic model. “To do that would risk simply throwing away our hard-won freedom from EU rules that reduce our competitiveness as a nation; we would be throwing away the very gains from Brexit that we enumerate above! If the EU does not like our new UK rules then it is free to adjust to them as it likes”, he says in his introduction."

    From https://www.economistsforfreetrade.com/News/brexit-could-boost-uk-economy-by-135-billion-say-top-economists/

    For every economist who says one thing there is another who says the opposite. You say Economists want Labour. I say there are others who do not want Labour.

    Is it any wonder that we had Harry Truman asking for a one-armed economist?

    "HARRY Truman famously asked to be sent a one-armed economist, having tired of exponents of the dismal science proclaiming "On the one hand, this" and "On the other hand, that".

    Quoted from https://www.economist.com/buttonwoods-notebook/2010/06/07/one-armed-economists

    • Incognito 3.1

      This is just an exercise in futility.

      One bunch of economists sign a letter stating their arguments. Alwyn produces a view from “equally illustrious economists” outlining theirs.

      At what point will we see a debate of the merits of those opinions without the emotive overtones of freedom? When will we see a synthesis of arguments and counter-arguments?

      Alwyn would be well placed to kick off such debate yet he decides that ‘his’ economists are “equally illustrious”, which seems to be the killer argument.

      Post-modernism, who needs it?

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        It's our team against theirs. It's our religion is better than theirs. It's Prod v Mick. The matter is religious; with the decline of religious precepts, capitalism and religion have coalesced, prosperity churches and television evangelists raking in cash being examples. Economics is based on theories, some provable, some needing a prod by a mick or the like.

      • alwyn 3.1.2

        Actually Alwyn would not be well placed to do this.

        It wasn't my specialist field of economics and I would be no better placed to do this than many just graduated students with any decent grades in the subject. I also really can't be bothered as any conclusions would be irrelevant to the decisions made by the people running Britain. They would be treated in exactly the same way as the current Government in New Zealand did the arguments as to whether the late un-lamented KiwiBuild made any sense at all and whether it could be done.

        As a personal view I think that Brexit, and Boris, will be a disaster for Britain. So would Corbyn unfortunately. How Britain has managed to get themselves into such a god-awful mess is beyond me. Their Constitution, largely unwritten conventions as it is, is unlikely to survive the pressure.

    • swordfish 3.2

      Notwithstanding Incognito's critique, let's just briefly play the numbers game, here:

      Labour-supporting Economists (via letter to Financial Times):

      Total 163

      Including:

      – Around 60 Professors / Associate Professors of Economics / Applied Economics / Political Economy

      – Just under 50 Readers / Research Fellows / Senior Lecturers / Lecturers in Economics

      – 12 Institute Directors / Heads of Research / Senior Economists

      – Most of the remainder being Professors / Lecturers in Associated Disciplines.

      Vs

      Economists for Free Trade (that alwyn alludes to):

      Total 16

      – Professors of Economics 6

      – Research Fellow in Economics 1

      – Privately-employed Economists 5

      – Other Professors 2

      – Remainder: an Entrepreneur & Govt advisor

      • alwyn 3.2.1

        And your point is?

        Actually you might, or might not, understand the story about Abraham Lincoln at a Cabinet Meeting.

        They voted on something or other and at the end Lincoln announced the result.

        "On this matter the Ayes are 12, the Noes are 1. The Noes have it."

        Or the other quote. "One man and the truth is a majority"

  4. Gosman 4

    Shock Horror!!!

    Left wing economists favour left wing party to form next government.

    Whatever next? Will furry Ursidae choose to defecate in heavily wooded vegetation zones?

  5. Gosman 5

    The fact is Corbyn is unlikely to win the current UK election given the position he is currently in. He may well do better than what the polls at the moment suggest but he is still likely to lose. It doesn't matter how many economists prefer him.

  6. millsy 6

    My biggest worry is not if Labour will win the election (It wont), but that the Blairite will probably regain control of the party afterwards, and that there will be no proper left wing input into UK Labour for a generation, if not more.

    I expect Corbyn to resign as leader within minutes of the polls closing on election night, that includes from Parliament. Blair supporter Liz Kendall, will be party leader by mid-2020. Labour's support for the Holy Trinity of war, austerity and privatisation will be restored. It is written.

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    Great news, anyone who is serious about battling global warming, insane inequality, the class war we are losing etc, can only hope that Corbyn succeeds..and Sanders next year.

    People like our friend Gosman have really exposed themselves as extreme fundamentalists who would rather see the world burn than see their comfort zone in anyway disturbed, their opinion and world view is rooted in a framework of selfishness that is quite disturbing.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      Well put. The Pom establishment are going all out against a Corbyn led Labour electoral success because he is clearly advocating smashing the neo liberal hegemony, and main Parliamentary party consensus, that has prevailed since Thatcher and Blair.

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        If the neoliberal hegemony was as unpopular as you suggest and the alternative proposed by Corbyn was so popular why aren't UK Labour in the lead?

        • Kevin 7.1.1.1

          Out of sight, out of mind Gos. People will live in denial until directly affected and only then will they demand action.

  8. greywarshark 8

    I like that it has been found that laws have been broken by pro-Brexit parties.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/26/brexit-data-firm-aggregateiq-broke-canadian-privacy-laws-watchdog-finds

    The working people in Scotland's Glasgow East electorate are not visibly excited by the coming election. Possibly they have made up their minds and the lack of public notices around reflects that understanding.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/snp-labour-showdown-glasgow-north-east-191126155348127.html

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