The long depression

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Socialists can be forgiven for not noticing the Royal Statistical Society’s announcement of its UK Statistic of the Decade in December. The statistic was 0.3 percent. But beneath this rather dull figure lies a fascinating tale of the financial crisis, the long depression and Britain’s economic decline.

The RSS says on its website: “0.3% is the estimated average annual increase in UK productivity in the decade or so since the financial crisis… The judging panel chose this statistic as it represents a sharp contrast to the pre-crisis period (1997-2007), when productivity growth (output per hour worked) averaged around 2% per year.

“It means that the UK has experienced its worst decade for productivity growth since the early 1800s. Output per hour would now be more than a fifth higher if UK productivity had remained on its pre-2008 trend. Although productivity growth has also slowed in other advanced economies, the slowdown in the UK has been particularly marked.”

It is satisfying when an organisation like the Royal Statistical Society highlights a single statistic that supports two important themes in Marxist economics: the long depression following the financial crisis in 2007 and the relative decline of the British economy.

Nick Moore
London