Should-Read: Martin Wolf: A bruising Brexit could shipwreck the British economy

Should-Read: Martin Wolf: A bruising Brexit could shipwreck the British economy: “The UK economy remains the most regionally divided in Europe…

…Inner London is the richest region in Europe. The other regions (apart from the rest of London and the southeast) are far poorer…. Gross domestic product per head has also only regained pre-crisis levels in London and the southeast…. Various categories of insecure work have greatly increased. In 2016, for example, 2.8 per cent of all people in employment were on zero-hours contracts…. It must be hard for people working under such contracts to have much control over their lives.

The UK’s level of inequality is among the highest in Europe…. People might wonder, given UK performance, what these business leaders have done to justify such huge increases. They might also point to the facts that the UK’s average productivity per hours worked is among the lowest among high-income countries and, still worse, productivity has flatlined since the crisis…. Last, but not least, on this list of failings, UK investment is exceptionally weak…. Spending on research and development is also relatively weak…. This is not a vigorous and healthy economy well able to take the shock of substantially worse access to its most important markets…. Economic disappointment must have been among the reasons for the Brexit vote. Yet the Brexit shock, combined with the UK’s underlying weaknesses, is likely to make the disappointment for many still more severe. The UK has embarked on a risky voyage in a leaky boat. Beware a shipwreck.


Brad DeLong


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