An Old Keynesian Book Launch – Sadly is Anyone Listening

Was at the launch of Bill Keegan’s new book ‘Mr Osborne Experiment’ last night with my friend Professor Steve Keen, organised by the Mile End group at KCU.

It was a sad but inevitable fact that the audience was dominated by Old Keynsians, including the Tory Father of the House, Andrew Adonis and even Ed Balls as many great and good columnists and treasury alumni.  The labour politicians  weirdly constrained between what they intellectually believe and what politically they can say, given Osborne’s media dominance of the narrative that austerity has no alternative. Sadly these are no most unfashionable ideas.

The book is lively and short enough to read at a single sitting.  It sums up nicely the argument not that austerity prevented growth bit that it delayed and reduced it unnecessarily.  He concludes that principally austerity is not about economics but the shrinking of the state.

The arguments though are primarily old Keynesian.  The author does not take on the psuedo gurus they have been cited by the treasury in support of austerity, no mention of Reineirt and Roggoff, Alesina or Sumner.  So I think, sadly, of the book, will anyone listen?

From a lakosian perspective I think the new ‘Treasury view’ will only be toppled if it is shown to be old fashioned from a fiscal and monetary theory perspective.

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Back to the 1980s with a small sites 5 year supply requirement

In the 1980s national policy required that a proportion of the 5 year requirement was small site.

Today the labour party is to resurrect this.

The government might reply this is unnecessary as the deliver ability requirement implies more small sites if large sites might take many years to deliver.  This is certainly implied in several called in appeals such as in the recent batch in Cherwell.

What slightly concerns me about this is two things.

1) The best is the enemy of the good.  It will take longer to adopt local plans as they must deal with call for sites and allocation of many more sites, and small sites are often disproportionately controversial.

2) It confuses correlation with causation.  Other jurisdictions such as France and Canada, often deliver more homes, and more small sites, not because they specifically allocate more small sites, quite the opposite, they allocate more large sites which are then subdivided and sold off as small sites.  They operate zoning and subdivision systems.

So I would rather we have a system which is evidence based. a focus on larger sites, except in very rural districts, and then splitting those sites up amongst multiple ownerships to deliver at a faster rate.