Ian Stewart

Let’s not overdo the productivity pessimism

Economists disagree on lots of things, but on one thing at least there is a consensus. Productivity, or the efficiency of production, is the main driver of human welfare. The data bear this out. Consider that growth in living standards in the UK since the late nineteenth century has been driven entirely by rising productivity.

Quantitative easing has made houses hopelessly unaffordable

Financial crises tend to see asset prices collapsing, making housing more affordable. But it’s been different this time because the authorities in the UK, and elsewhere, countered the crisis with low interest rates and quantitative easing. By slashing the cost of borrowing and flooding the system with liquidity, these policies set out to – and