Don’t know if you have been listening to the series Stephanomics on BBC Radio 4. Presented by Stephanie “Two Eds” Flanders, this mornings gem focused on whether or not we really need economic growth. On the programme was the the biographer of John Maynard Keynes, Lord Skidelsky; the environmental economist, Cameron Hepburn; and the leading advocate of free-markets, Patrick Minford.  Skidelsky sees long term growth as undesirable.(If you follow Keynesian ideology, you needn’t worry about growth!)  Hepburn sees it as necessary but ONLY if it deals with global warming climate change. So Minford found himself in a minority when he argued for free markets and economic growth. For the debate to be structured in this way struck me as very odd and yet very BBC. The mainstream view – that economic growth is both desirable AND essential – is marginalised and instead the listener is presented with crank left wing views which are presented as if they are the mainstream. I am also fed up with the way the BBC misrepresents free markets. The sort of crony capitalism that has caused so much woe is NOT the free market but rather the opposite of it but in its desire to bury capitalism, the BBC chooses to blindfully blur the difference. Perhaps the fact that the BBC operates in glorious seclusion from the free market which makes it so unbalanced?

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17 Responses to DO WE NEED GROWTH?

  1. Number 7 says:

    I have just listened to this “balanced” piece.

    3 against 1 calling for some sort of socialist nirvana with the “state” dictating not only what we can have but also what we want.

    It sounds wonderful (not)!!!!!!


    • johnnythefish says:

      Sounds communist. And it fits nicely with UN Agenda 21 – they didn’t mention having to apply for baby licences too, by any chance?


  2. Umbongo says:

    Ah but for Steph and friends, growth or financial collapse or, indeed, anything under a Labour government is fine; under the coalition, not so much (cf Steph’s reportage 2009-May 2010 and May 2010-today). As to crony capitalism, it’s not that Steph likes or dislikes either it or genuine (or near-genuine) capitalism, she has no idea – and no wish to understand, let alone convey – what free markets and non-crony capitalism are. Steph and Skidelsky (and the rest of the BBC economics team) should read this column in the Telegraph this morning.


  3. Fred Sage says:

    Why then is Ed Balls and the rest of the Labour party so keen to promote economic growth by borrowing our way our of debt. And why are they so angry with George Osbourne when the economy flatlines or dips slightly?


  4. geyza says:

    “I am also fed up with the way the BBC misrepresents the free markets. The sort of crony capitalism which has caused so much woe is not the free market but rather the opposite of it.”

    Amen! I have been saying the same for years. The G4S security debacle was falsely presented by the BBC as a failure of free enterprise and private companies. In reality it was an inevitable consequence of G4S having no real competition at all and so they were able to secure the contract whilst being wholly incapable of fulfilling the conditions of it.

    Crony Capitalism, or corporatism, is the worst of left and right. It has the same inefficiencies and laissez faire sluggishness and wilful blindness to the needs of the customer as the state owned monopoly, whilst funnelling extraordinarily large sums of money to an effectively unaccountable, private board of directors, which is taken directly from the tax-payer.

    The BBC does indeed blur the lines and use the awful consequences of crony capitalism to attack the free market.

    We need to get back to the free market, get the government out of the loop and allow a market driven approach, which uses open and free competition, to give consumers what they desire at an efficient price.


  5. Mice Height says:

    Very strange when you consider their reaction to the zero growth in the cost of the TV tax for six years.


  6. wayne x says:

    One has to wonder where this lack of financial acumen by pundits and politicians will end. The European economy is in bits and the peasants are starving in Greece (oh yes they are), the Spanish have run out of cash to build hollow houses (with 50% chance of getting your deeds) on their deserts for us Brits to buy at inflated prices and the Germans are up in arms again (well raising them at 45’) and fed up with giving away the proceeds of building all those lovely Mercs and Beemers. As for America and Obama Economics, his dislike of business people will either be seen by the good folk of America as the end of them or the end of him. For their sake I hope the latter.

    So, just how far down the pan do we have to go before it collapses and the nasty parties take control again? It is only just over 70 years since the last war and that started when Germany felt used and abused after the Treaty of Versailles and guess who was that was in the front line sorting out that mess?

    The Stephanie Flanders gaggle of economic dumb nuts and the elite politicians of this gleaming new century who don’t understand that over-expenditure and it’s resulting economic mess will always bring about unrest and revolution need to wake up fast or we will be having our own freedom fighter spring uprising.

    The BBC will of course be on the side of the freedom fighters until the last man at the door of the new Salford Palace of Truth is taken down by an inner city chap with an AK47.


  7. Scrappydoo says:

    An enthusiastic BBC piece towards the end of the 10pm news on R4 last night about the Green party now campaigning against the cuts. No mention of the irony – more spending, more growth, more consumption = more stress to the environment , it is just what the planet needs according to the slime green say anything to get votes party.


  8. Old Goat says:

    The BBC. Feathering their own nest with your money for years, on the pretext of balanced, factual broadcasting.


  9. Reconstruct says:

    But what on earth were you doing listening to it in the first place? I mean, it’s not as if we haven’t had good warning about what a career with the BBC has done to someone who once, apparently, had a halfway decent brain.

    What’s more – she allowed her program to be named after her. I mean, really, what more warning do you want?


  10. Wild says:

    The BBC believes in growth, but only the right sort of growth i.e. growth in the size of the public sector and BBC pensions that sort of thing.


  11. johnnythefish says:

    Why should anyone be surprised at zero growth anyway? Brown’s growth was based on a massive private and public borrowing binge which left the country with no room for financial manoeuvre.

    Government and individuals have had to start living within their means. Hardly rocket science.


  12. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Presumably “Two Eds” will bring up the idea that you don’t really need growth next time Ed Balls is on talking about how vital it is and Osborne’s can’t do it?


  13. Sir Arthur Strebe-Grebling says:

    The party line for all BBC programmes now is to say that the Con-LibDem coalition was formed to get the economy growing, whereas in fact it was formed to get us out of Gordon Brown’s debt-fuelled crisis.
    It’s the usual socialist rewriting of history.


    • Derek Buxton says:

      If only, Limp-dem + con are doing nothing to aid growth. Where are all the new power stations, the reservoirs, the easing of regulations we were promised. All they have done is drive prices sky high and attempt to ration water and energy. Not a programme for growth.


  14. George R says:

    ‘Compare and contrast the growth of the BBC’s global commercial broadcasting empire with that of News Corporation.’

    “BBC focuses on expanded Latin America presence”