Comments on: Europe risks going the way of Japan Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: deadrabbit Sat, 22 Sep 2012 12:33:46 +0000 I am not very well versed in the art of politics and yet it does seem to me that the rush, surge even by European manufacturers to have their high profile products made in ‘China’, may well have begun to backfire. Bosch of Germany for example are already feeling the strain for many people would not buy a Bosch electric drill no matter if it were made in China, Germany or on one of the south sea islands. The people have lost confidence in the brand name that was once held in high esteem! Many other manufacturers are now also feeling the results of their flirtation with China.

By: winkyshark1932 Tue, 18 Sep 2012 12:08:28 +0000 @randburg100
You speak my heart. There may never be any perfect political party/politician but New Labour is just a group of parasitic individuals to the whole human establishment.
So Brown, save your crocodile tears and I cannot see any concrete suggestion/strategy in the article anyway. All I can see are some high-level feel-good babblings that probably make Karl Marx blush.

By: matthewslyman Mon, 17 Sep 2012 15:46:32 +0000 “For four years, a one-dimensional obsession with public debt (‘if austerity is not working, we need more of it’) has led Europe not only to neglect the seismic tremors in its banking system but to underplay its underlying problems of low growth, diminished competitiveness and economic weakness.”

A new short article by Reuters columnist Lawrence Summers, with some current evidences supporting Gordon Brown’s warning:  /2012/09/17/why-the-uk-must-reverse-its -economic-course/

By: scythe Mon, 17 Sep 2012 06:44:13 +0000 same old tripe of consumer(debt)-fueled growth
consumer debt-fueled growth creates a dystopia

that places too much dependency on cheap goods and cheap labour from asia

europe is taking its fiscal medicine early
and relying on innovation and its cultural diversity

usa’s multi-trillion dollar debt is now back on the table
along with a debate of its priorities

china, on the other hand, is expanding its neo-colonial role in seizing, consuming and hoarding asian natural resources

a map of little tibets everywhere

gordon is in retirement from the next phase of world

By: CDN_Rebel Sun, 16 Sep 2012 15:06:49 +0000 So many of these economists ask these inane questions, but the truth is (in industrialized countries) as population growth goes, so does economic growth. Europe’s population is currently growing at 0.1%; Japan’s is shrinking at 0.8%; America’s is still growing at 1.1% (though it was 3.0% or higher for much of the 20th C). That should tell one all they need to know – without new blood to grow an economy then the population turns into savers and self-interested nihilists. Old wind-bags like Brown fit the latter, and it shows in how worthless the UK economy has become after his reign of terror and letting banks run amok.

By: GivaFromOz Sat, 15 Sep 2012 23:04:21 +0000 This is an interesting article but I think Mr Brown misunderstood the statistics that give it its force. The fact that western countries are consuming smaller and smaller percentages of global production does not mean that their citizens are consuming less and less. It simply means that those in the developing countries are “catching up” to us.

The fact that Germany sells most of its exports to the developed nations is not necessarily a condemnation of its economic structure. Probably it just confirms that it sells expensive products that only the wealthy can buy.

Globalisation, the shift of production to the cheap labour developing countries, has allowed those in the west to buy more and more goods, but at the expense of making many of them unemployed and unemployable. That is one of the reasons for the huge government debts – which are still growing.

The sad thing about this article is that Mr Brown appears to think that we as individuals can forever have increasing consumption and we can give it to a forever increasing population. A farmer in Australia, and probably in the UK, who overstocks his farm (with cattle or sheep) would eventually be prosecuted for cruelty to animals, but governments do nothing about stopping world population growth. Mr Brown, of all people, should be well aware that such negligence will end in disaster.

By: matthewslyman Sat, 15 Sep 2012 20:35:07 +0000 @randburg100: Could you have done better than Brown (without the benefit of hindsight)? Care to prove it? You’ll have my vote (provisionally, for one term; you could call it a “trial period”)…

By: matthewslyman Sat, 15 Sep 2012 20:19:01 +0000 @JSkinner:
On the contrary, AVERAGE living standards are still improving (as more innovation brings greater efficiency to manufacturing, and as the pace of competition and innovation is increased by the increasingly globalised nature of trade). The key questions to ask next are:
1. How well are those improvements DISTRIBUTED from top to bottom in our society, and, how well is spending power distributed around the globe?
2. To what degree are we helping the disenfranchised former employees of newly obsolete industries find meaningful work or education?
3. To what extent are we anticipating the natural regressive effects of these technological changes (which concentrate unprecedented economies of scale in very few privileged hands), and recalibrating our systems of taxation to normalise these destructive trends (for the good of all including the rich, and for the sake of making “free market” competition more fair/ meritocratic and making our societies more socially cohesive, less wasteful of congenital talent, and therefore more successful)?

Barring another total world war or major natural disaster, we might expect this trend (improving efficiency and improving MEAN AVERAGE living standards) to generally continue (improving technology will even blunt the impact of rising populations and create arable land from the deserts if only we invest adequately and think ahead). It is our moral responsibility (since these massive economic shifts that I have described are highly predictable) to do something to rebalance our economic system, before these pressures become a major problem.

Let’s take a few industries as examples of what I am talking about:
* Book publishing. Traditionally required physical print media distributed to thousands of book-stores. Now transitioning to efficient electronic sales & distribution arbitrated by only a few dominant market players. (Assuming a competitive market; we should be able to purchase more books with the same amount of money – including many free out-of-copyright classics – perhaps limited only by the quantity we can consume.) Similar economies of scale apply to the music industry.
* Weaving. 100 years ago, British weavers could only manage 30-45 picks per minute across 2-3 yard cloth using shuttle or jacquard looms. These days, rapier or projectile looms weave most of the world’s cloth at 10-20 times that rate (and the Indians have access to that technology too). (Assuming a competitive market; we should be able to purchase more clothes with the same amount of money.)

Such economies create downward pressure on real-terms pricing that are difficult to resist in a globally competitive market.

I recall being told that Winston Churchill, when asked how Britain would survive (in terms of the supply of industrially important minerals such as oil) without an Empire; said that we would survive (or even thrive) through the diversity of suppliers (or, through a truly competitive global market with a multiplicity of suppliers for each essential resource).

HENCE, the Japanese experience of lost decades of growth. Japan is one of the most technologically & socially advanced countries on Earth. Their experience is not unique and is actually fully repeatable (as the Europeans are discovering ahead of their turn, due to weak fiscal policy). All we have to do, in order to bring a similar crisis to our shores (lost British & eventually lost North American decades of growth) is to do nothing!

By: Danny01 Sat, 15 Sep 2012 19:27:14 +0000 Personally I would welcome some deflation. I hear that many of the Japanese quite appreciate it, and it doesn’t seem to have done their economy all of the harm that it’s made out to have done!

We ought to have deflation with all of the advances in technology and manufacturing of recent years, and the only reason that we don’t is that our central banks are obsessed with giving us inflation at all costs! This is totally immoral in my opinion, and benefits the banks far above anyone else.

By: usagadfly Sat, 15 Sep 2012 13:53:07 +0000 Europe also should take heed from the very negative example of the USA. Centralization and loss of political freedom may bring a more coherent upper class, as it has here in America, but it also reduces vibrancy as it does in all centralized States that focus on reducing freedom and political power for the lower classes in return for monolithic political power.

Europe permits a much, much wider selection of policy choices to its various peoples than we have here in the USA. As in China, a shadowy power elite make cloaked decisions behind closed doors and permit no real opposition to their policies. There is essentially no difference between Republican and Democratic policies and no space in the system for political opposition, even as the country careens into a multi-ethnic and multi-racial future that makes Bosnia look unified. This is not a path to follow. Freedom is worth some economic loss.