German success, UK/US failure: “Proof one again that our longterm economic plan is working”

A higher percentage of workers earn less than two thirds of the median for full-time job salaries in the UK than in most other developed countries.

This is a comparative statistic and an unarguable fact….unless you think the OECD are just another gang of liars, and for myself, I don’t think that. Here is the OECD chart that makes the point, via the site Inequality Briefing:

oecdwages7615It sort of speaks for itself: the two most neoliberal States on the planet have the highest proportion of low wage/part time employees. So when Osborne says we have growth, Cameron says we have higher employment, and Obama says the US economy is “normalizing”, it’s bollocks – and they know it. The UK is calling something ‘a job’ which isn’t a proper job, and the US is happy to watch the desperate LTUs fall off the statistical charts. This is about as far from normal as it gets.

By contrast, Germany is now, officially, the biggest exporter of manufactured goods on Earth. But it has 15% fewer low pay/part time workers than the UK, and 28% fewer than the US. Its economy is massively less dependent on daft pieces of derivative financial paper (that could be worthless next week) than the Anglo-Saxon twits on either side of The Pond. Germany is by far the biggest exporter of premium-priced cars in the world, and has a huge lead in high quality engineering products. It makes vehicles, machines, organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hi-tech electronic goods and planes at higher margins and volumes than any other State.

Compared to the US’s Wall Street and the UK’s City, Germany’s dependence on Frankfurt as a financial centre is minute. It is the one Western country for whose products Asia, the US and Australia have a seemingly insatiable desire. This is because it has invested in technical leadership, strong brand values, and product reliability/durability.

Germany never had Thatcher and Reagan – and it shows. It never embraced Friedmanite economics – and it shows. Although its national debt soared after reunification (the cost of modernising and welfare in the former DDR), all things are relative: its debt to gdp ratio went from 55 to 80%, but since 2012 it’s been falling ….and now stands at 75%.

Since the banking crisis of 2008-9, Britain’s debt to gdp ratio has gone from 52% to 90%. Unlike Germany’s ratio, ours is still growing like topsy. Four reasons: bank bailouts and subsidies, greedy Civil Service self-awarded pension liabiities, debt servicing costs,  and lousy export performance.

Over the same period, America’s debt to gdp ratio has gone from 76% to 102%. It too is still climbing. Three reasons: initial bank bailouts, falling share of world trade, and cost of debt servicing….despite Zirp, and falling US bond yields.

So to sum up, the Thatcher-Reagan-Friedman school of economics has increased the national debt, increased wealth inequality, unbalanced the economy on a way that proved costly, reduced investment in products to be exported…and as a result, lost share of world trade for America and Britain. But the German Bundesrepublik – despite having to take on a bankrupt former Communist State – eschewed neoliberal claptrap, did an open deal with German trade unions to get a wage freeze for two years, and went from strength to strength.

Thus we can see that – quite obviously – there is no alternative to the Friedman Model, nothing to be gained from ending neolithic class war rhetoric, and a solid statistical foundation for financial service dominated economics.

Well quite. Stands ter reason, dunnit?

Last night at The Slog: Dementia viewed through the medium of song lyrics and fresh water