Sunday, 7 April 2013

Britain isn’t ‘broke’

“Britain has maxed out its credit card. The level of debt is too high, and the cost of servicing that debt risks bankrupting the UK. We’re in real danger of heading the same way as Greece.”


The ‘maxed-out credit card’ metaphor is actually complete bollocks, and nef (the new economics foundation) has just published a handy mythbuster to expose this metaphor as both false and damaging.


  1. There is something rather charming about this well worn, and bizarrely ahistorical, myth of the left being trotted out as a "mythbuster".

    Reed and Clark's argument relies on two periods of debt, the first from 1750 to 1850, and the second the two decades after WW2.

    Between 1750 and 1850 the debt was incurred to finance military spending. We won the Napoleonic wars (perhaps necessary to point out to anyone who takes this stuff seriously). Britain was now "Top Country". To the victor the spoils, and the debt was quickly paid off from the proceeds of industry and empire.

    The debt after WW2 was in the form of the Anglo-American loan.

    Do Reed and Clark think we can conquer another empire, have another industrial revolution, or find a superpower to bail us out? No of course not, which is why their 'mythbuster' is complete bollocks.

    Jane Leaper

    1. Isn't the point that the "maxed-out credit card" metaphor is "well worn and bizarrely ahistorical"?

      The austerity merchants rely on endless repetition of tropes like this to avoid critical or objective judgement, and to justify an economic policy that is plainly counter-productive.

  2. I'm sorry - anything that promises a 'mythbuster' from pubescent trot Owen Jones is clearly worthless.

    1. @Dan - Isn't your ad hominem attack rather "pubescent"? At least engage with the argument.


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