13 April 2009

Gordon Brown: Genius

Back when Gordon Brown looked like a competent politician, he held out against Britain joining the Euro. He said that, amongst other things, tests would have to be passed that:

Are business cycles and economic structures compatible so that we and others could live comfortably with euro interest rates on a permanent basis?

If problems emerge is there sufficient flexibility to deal with them?

and he correctly determined that neither test was passed.

Current events prove him right. Britain, with its property-speculating populace and large international financial sector has been hit hard by the crash, and this has produced a large fall in Sterling, leading to the market pushing towards the structural changes that are needed.

Even the EU agrees:

One senior EU policymaker told the FT that, in his view, the UK was in breach of article 124.

Brian Lenihan, the Irish finance minister, in January directly accused the UK of running a policy of “competitive devaluation”, putting other countries under “immense pressure”.

Apart from the fact it's not a "policy" - Gordon couldn't prop the pound up if he wanted to, and a good thing too - it's dead right. Britain is benefiting enormously from not being in the Euro, for exactly the reasons Gordon gave when he chose not to go into the Euro. He was right, and those that said Britain would be better off in the Euro were wrong, and even the EU itself now admits it (and is trying to nullify the benefit to Britain by other means).


A Nonny Mouse said...

The question here is, should we worry specifically how “Britain” is doing? And if we do, is our ideology not primarily Nationalist, and nothing economic in the slightest?

As an individual, are you not capable of upping sticks and gaining employment in Dublin or Amsterdam, if a better position presents itself? Why should it be part of your agenda to better the lives of people in Scunthorpe, which you may never visit? Could you not better indulge the chauvinist part of your personality by purchasing a season ticket for Millwall FC?

Having said this, there are no doubt plenty of professions in which the welfare of specifically Britain is important. Herald perhaps, or Morris dancer. Mostly they are funded by the state. Information Technologist is not one of these, so I don’t see why you should be concerned.

The Euro is not a gigantic conspiracy to do down Britain, any more than Sterling is a gigantic conspiracy to do down Bedfordshire. You might be able to procure special advantage for Bedfordshire by disengaging and floating the Bed, but the advantages would be equally balanced by the disadvantages. Jobs would flourish and people would be able to stay at home and work in Beds, but if they felt like moving elsewhere they probably wouldn’t be able to afford to. The end product would be like East Germany: everyone fully employed, but no-one could get out.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Because it is a part of your brain that you don’t normally use, I think you underestimate your ability to learn German, which can be done really just by listening, so close are the two Germanic tongues. One difficulty experienced by my godson was that no-one would actually speak to him in German, they all insisted on speaking English. His German friend said he expected German to be extinct by the end of the Century. I went to East Germany where some ignorance of English survives, in order to escape this mentality. All conversations in Amsterdam which involve a non-Dutch person are conducted in English, and foreigners are as thick on the ground as they are in London.

Swiss Germans now talk to Swiss French in English. The Latin countries did provide some resistance to the encroachment of English and I noticed in Egypt that Italian was one of the necessary languages (Russian and English the others, French people being addressed in English) but even here there is some movement and my Welsh informant says English is as much used in Rome as it is in Aberystwyth.

Even Japan is full of English speaking programmers who never master Japanese.

So I suggest that you are insufficiently adventurous in this field.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Now for devaluation. This is a cheap trip used to avoid tackling the real problems. The government allows devaluation of 20% which means it commits its people to selling their goods for 20% less. But as these goods are frequently made from raw or even finished products from abroad, the manufacturer has no choice but to put his prices up, so eventually we are back where we started, in the familiar banana republic model. Unlucky manufacturers will have already agreed on the price, and so may be forced into bankruptcy. Thus not having the same currency means you cannot fully participate in the same economy, as your pricing cannot be predicted. Equally, currency transactions will remove such an enormous percentage of your money you will be considerably worse off if you try to trade across monetary borders.

If you really need to make things cheaper, then you need to tackle the housing bubble by freeing up more land for development to bring housing costs down, and working very hard on decreasing transport costs (though if housing were cheaper, there wouldn’t be so much commuting). This is a lot harder work than devaluation, which is why it is less often attempted.

I can’t buy a book from Amazon.de because the fucking postal systems have not yet been integrated yet, and they have only reckoned for internal sales.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Now for East Germany. The situation with regards to this country has been exagerrated for propaganada purposes. There were always a large number of people who could have been allowed out and probably were allowed out, but would not have left because there was nowhere they could have gone. Pensioners, paraplegics, anyone who was a net drain on the state, etc. The pensioners could not have gone anywhere other than East Germany, because they were dependent on their pensions, supplemented by pensioner type freebies.

The problem was with certain professions which could hope for a much better wage elsewhere, doctor particularly, certain eminent ballerinas etc, and with young people with their whole working life ahead of them. East Germany was particularly vulnerable here because of the existence of West Germany.

In fact, we have exactly the same problem: our doctors defect to the US leaving our health service undermanned. Our solution is to steal the 3rd World’s doctors and take their ordinary workers whom they are more able to spare.

The East Germans were against this, and so erected barriers to keep their workers in. Our solution is to turn the country into something like a sink with no plug and both taps on in terms of inhabitents. The sin of “Racism” has to be invented to re-educate anyone opposing this policy. The results are interesting but unpredictable: some of the foreigners prove quite explosive and our children often cannot cope with the foreignness of school.

A Nonny Mouse said...

Prosperity depends on the free movement of labour. If you would truly benefit by taking up the Swiss thing, I suggest you try them. You may find they are perfectly happy to have a monoglot English speaker, they just asked for a German one because it would simplify matters.