Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2016

Plucky Wallonia exposes the lie at the heart of EU trade policy

Welcome to Wallonia.... Policy strives to achieve the things that it measures, and nothing is more fervently measured in modern economies than GDP. If increasing GDP is the policy objective, then encouraging trade - any sort of trade - will generally help. GDP measures money transactions, so the more times a product and its components are traded on their journey from producer to consumer, the more GDP is recorded. That, in summary, is the basis for TTIP, TPP, TISA and, currently, CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement negotiated between the EU and Canada, which the regional parliament of Wallonia, in Belgium, is refusing to pass . Trade agreements increase activity in global markets, which increases GDP. The size of that increase is much debated , but even a tiny percentage of GDP is a big number in pounds or Euros , and makes for good headlines . The extent to which trade agreements actually increase GDP is not, however, the real issue. The lie at the heart

Immigration is a symptom, not the cause, of our broken economy

Immigration is a symptom, not a cause, of a broken economy In the flatlands of Lincolnshire, in eastern England, the town of Boston is a centre for the industrial scale vegetable farming that flourishes in those fertile soils. In the EU referendum, it recorded the highest vote for Brexit anywhere in the country. The connection is straightforward. Those farms attract large numbers of labourers from Eastern Europe to pick and process their produce. This often transient, alien-sounding workforce is highly visible in an area of limited employment prospects and low pay. It is easy enough to make the case that immigration is depressing local wages while putting pressure on housing and other social services such as health. Easy and, at least to some extent, true. If, however, as reported , there are 20,000 economic migrants working in the area, the 6,795 people in the entire county claiming unemployment benefits will not be able to fill their shoes. Nor would they want to: