Try the new

The greenbelt can fix the property market

©Andy Fairbairn/Plantlife

Let us build garden cities – but we cannot build enough to prevent a housing bubble

Anthony Barber and George Osborne
©FT Graphic

UK’s gear shift reminiscent of 1970s boom

Samuel Brittan considers parallels in pre-election growth under chancellors Osborne and Barber

©Daniel Lynch

Brittan on Britain

The FT economics commentator recalls pivotal moments in the British political economy

Osborne’s last chance to leave his mark

UK chancellor will have to balance his austere instincts against political pressure to ‘do something’

A cult that gives growth a bad name

Economists’ obsession over gross domestic product gives the concept an unnecessary air of mystification

Swift lesson in principles of economics

Science and technology influence living standards but government still has a role

State should come with a clear price tag

After the chancellor has delivered the Budget we never know whether we are richer or poorer

Banish talk of inequality from economics

True equality may not not even be possible in death – Mozart was buried in a paupers’ grave

Economic soothsayers have no crystal ball

There are not many easily falsifiable theories in macroeconomics, so some prefer the micro side

Cattle look like a poor investment

If one analysis is correct, the continued existence of cows disproves the main tenets of capitalism

This is no time for a UK stimulus

The current period is reminiscent of 1937, when Keynes said the time was wrong to boost spending

Tories and the cult of home ownership

Promoting house-buying is a form of stimulus that does not overtly add to the fiscal deficit

Inflation is a side effect, not the cure

It makes no sense to aim for a high rate in order to create jobs

Don’t worry about too much easy money

The most serious concern is that it may create asset bubbles which it might be difficult to deflate

A moderate outlook with a chance of  a new crisis

The fiscal policy deadlocks in Washington are a price worth paying for checks and balances

An argument about two numbers

The figures that matter are how fast the economy is growing and how much spare capacity there is

Snags in forward guidance start to show

The monetary policy fad is being undone by the element of surprise

Politics is awash with quack policies

Such proposals usually start with a real concern, exaggerate it and assume that citizens cannot be trusted

The growth engine

A defence of competitive markets is also a call to keep the faith

Productivity is not everything

There is nothing wrong with the US economy that a measure of redistribution would not put right


Samuel Brittan Samuel Brittan has been an economic commentator on the Financial Times since 1966. Prior to this he was economics editor of the Observer (1961-64) and an adviser at the Department of Economic Affairs (1965).

He has been awarded the George Orwell, Senior Harold Wincott and Ludwig Erhard prizes. He was a member of the Peacock Committee on the Finance of the BBC (1985-86). He was knighted in 1993 for “services to economic journalism” and also that year became a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. His column appears on alternate Fridays.

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