Experts? Bah Humbug!!

Michael Gove is famously quoted as saying – during a Brexit campaign interview with Sky News on 3 June 2016 – that “the people of this country have had enough of experts”. In fact that was the first half of a sentence which the interviewer interupted. The whole sentence was :

“I think that the people of this country have had enough of experts with organisations from acronyms saying – from organisations with acronyms – saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong, because these people – these people – are the same ones who got consistently wrong.”

Gove got handsome applause from the audience for this statement. But then I don’t suppose many of them were experts… ๐Ÿ˜‰

But least one of those “organisations with acronyms”  – the ones at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  – have turned out to be pretty much on the ball as regards the UK economic performance. See their recent report : Macroeconomic Implications of the UK Leaving the European Union

Here’s Christine Largarde speaking in London this week at the launch of the fundโ€™s annual assessment of the UK economy, Ms Lagarde insisted the IMFโ€™s pre-referendum warnings and forecasts had been broadly vindicated.  She has a sideways swipe at people who don’t trust experts, ๐Ÿ™‚


Here are the figures she quotes in that clip:

This doesn’t look too good for UK. Though if you look at IMF figures over a longer period, you might begin to wonder if being in or out of EU will make that big a difference to UK:

It’s a bit unfair maybe to include 2012-2013 when the euro zone was in trouble, much of southern Europe was in recession, and probably the UK was benefitting at their expense. But then if we are going to include Brexit why not include euro-zone recessions? 

The trouble with not being an economics expert is not knowing what’s important and what isn’t.  But think about this way, it’s never very good when your bank current account is in the red, especially in the red over a long time, is it? Even if you have a sympathetic bank it will still charge you for running that deficit, won’t it? And the charges mount up, don’t they? I know this is Mrs Thatcher style economics and countries can always just print money, can’t they? This shows you the current account deficit that we are currently running.  

Orange: USA. Light green: EU. Dark green: UK. All figures are in Billions of US $$$.

UK is $91 billion in the red in 2017. Not as bad as USA (and they are going to get a lot worse with Drumpff in charge) but just look at EU. 


If I was a banker, I’d have a sight more confidence in the EU than US and UK.  UK is running a deficit of minus $1.2Billion per head of our population which is about the same as US at minus $1.3Billion. Meanwhile EU is producing a surplus of $0.8 Billion equivalent for each of its citizens. 

All these figures are available on the IMF’s excellent interactive website:  IMF DataMapper


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