With the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats now in power in the UK and with the Labour Party, having lost the election, being now in the midst of a leadership campaign, politicians from across the political spectrum are balming Gordon Brown for the ‘mess the country’s in’. The UK has a record budget deficit and debt, and is just emerging from a deep recession, when only a few years ago, Gordon Brown was claiming the end of boom and bust. But is the condition of the UK economy Mr Brown’s fault? Would it have been any better if others had been in charge, or if there had been even greater independence for the Bank of England of if there had been an Office of Budget Responsibility (see)?
The following podcast by Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator of the Financial Times, considers this question. He argues that:
Everybody would like to blame Gordon Brown for the financial crisis. But he was only acting in line with the national consensus on economic policy.
- Explain what is meant by ‘the great moderation’.
- Should regulation of the banks be handed back to the Bank of England?
- Why may controlling inflation not necessarily result in stable economic growth? Is this a case of Goodhart’s Law?
- Why was the UK economy especially fragile during the banking crisis and its aftermath?
- What, according to Martin Wolf, was Mr Brown’s biggest mistake?
- Could a mistake be now being made by following the conventional wisdom that cutting the deficit is the solution to achieving sustained recovery?