Recovery from the coronavirus crisis won’t be easy anywhere in the world. It may, however, be considerably more difficult in the UK than elsewhere because the UK’s underlying economy was in much worse shape before the crisis hit us than is generally realised.
The UK has a chronic productivity problem. Output per person is virtually the same as it was ten years ago. This is why the economy is growing so slowly and why most people’s incomes, net of inflation, have stagnated or declined. Furthermore, without significant policy changes, there is little prospect of this situation improving as far ahead as we can see.
This book is about questions of evident importance to which there appear to be no obvious answers. Why is economic growth and prosperity in the world so patchy and unstable? Why are countries in the East doing so much better in growth terms than those in the West? Why have incomes for so many people in both Europe and the USA stagnated for long periods? Why is there so much inequality – and debt? Are all these conditions inevitable or are there more effective ways of ordering our economic affairs which could achieve better results?
We have a major problem in our financial relationship with the other EU countries. It would exist whether or not the Brexit vote on 23rd June 2016 had gone the way it did. Furthermore, unless action is taken to deal with it, this challenge is likely to continue to be with us whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations currently in train. This is a matter which ought to concern all the political parties in the UK as everyone in the country shares a common interest in finding a solution.