Tuesday, 26 June 2012

"Going South" by Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson

I don't normally post about business books here but felt I would break the rule in respect of Going South, which paints a very sobering view of the British economy and political system. The authors are both economic journalists, so it has the ring of true expertise about it.
It's message is that we are being unduly complacent about "our place in the world" and allowing our past glories (which were in many cases largely imagined) to blind us to out present competitive position, which is rapidly falling behind countries such as Brazil, which we still fondly like to think of as an emerging market. It is Britain, the authors argue, which will shortly have a third world economy, at least in relative terms.
I liked the comments on politicians past and present. One comment resonated in particular: that in the present soundbite-driven political system, leaving things well alone is not an option, because politicians have to demonstrate that they have "vision". I was reminded of Milton Friedman's comment that consumers do not need the government to protect them - on the contrary, it is the government from whom they need protection.
This is a very well written book by two authors who clearly know what they are talking about. Their message is unlikely to prove popular in political circles, but it is a very necessary one.