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Everything can be blamed on a virus

17 July, 2020

‘You are not going to create a new vigorous economy in a situation of mass fear of going about your business’

• JOHN Mills addresses what almost no one wants to talk about in terms of how really to achieve it, (Manufacturing is key to a recovery, July 10).

How can we enjoy an economy in the future with good jobs and full employment?

What has been happening for a decade is that inadequate levels of demand have been prevented from causing mass unemployment by soaking up the unemployed in low productivity growth service jobs. That also means a low growth economy.

John Mills argues for more manufacturing which tends to generate greater productivity growth. That indeed is the main reason we have better living standards than 200 years ago.

Higher productivity is all the more needed after a massive loss of output from the recent closing down of much of the economy.

But you are not going to create a new vigorous economy in a situation of mass fear of going about your business on a scale never before suffered in our history.

The government’s policy is that we have to suffer a myriad of ever-changing, and often confusing, controls until we are made “safe”. That is like saying vehicles are banned until it can be guaranteed that there will be no road accidents.

There is no safety in this world however much government may choose to suggest it and however welcome such a promise may be without examining the practicalities. There are only degrees of risk.

The government has boxed us in with a false promise which it’s now politically difficult to escape from. Until we do there is no prospect of anything but permanent austerity and mass unemployment. I now think that is probably the Tories’ real intention.

Everything can be blamed on a virus while there is ample scope for the upper business and political class to further enrich and empower themselves.

During the great depression of the 1930s it was joked that the main effect on richer people was the ease of obtaining golf caddies.

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