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Are we catching the US disease?

Date: 21. November 2011
Gavin Kelly and

This post originally appeared on Gavin's New Statesman blog

In the 1970s, the policy and political elite obsessed about the 'British disease' -- the failure of our system of industrial relations, and its impact on UK prosperity relative to our competitors, above all the US. Forty years on, their concern should be whether we have caught the 'US disease': the failure of the broad mass of US households on low to middle incomes, the middle-class in American parlance, to benefit from the recent era of economic growth and rising productivity. Typical US family incomes today are at the same level as they were in the late 1980s, and median wages have flat-lined for an even longer period.

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Macroeconomic Analysis

Are we facing an American nightmare?

Date: 21. November 2011
James Plunkett and

This post originally appeared on the Spectator blog

With the Chancellor’s autumn statement due next Tuesday, we're all talking about growth. The ECB and Bank of England now say the UK economy is set to grow at less than half the rate the OBR forecast back in March. That makes it all but certain that George Osborne will announce dramatic downward revisions to UK forecasts when he stands up in parliament next week.

But before all the fighting about Plan As and Bs reaches fever pitch, it’s worth asking what the next decade looked like under the previous, more optimistic growth projections. The answer isn’t pretty and it helps highlight one major question that’s rarely asked in our debate about GDP: what kind of growth are we after?

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