Gary Duncan of The Times 8 June (click here for article) gives recent Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development figures showing that the rift between GDP per head regionally within the UK, is the world’s second worst for developed countries after Turkey. 55/444 are the GDP index figures per head for each country’s poorest/richest regions. That range is 8.2. (See the OECD website for the figures: ‘Regions at a Glance’). Turkey at 28/287 is worst at 11. US 66/344 is 5.2. Duncan writes that the poorest region in Britain (Anglesey) is worse off than that in Poland which is 58/299. At the other end of the scale the UK has the highest GDP per head at 444, above the US at 344.
Fred Harrison’s book Ricardo’s Law, subtitle: Why Tony Blair’s Project failed (2006) addressed the same damning facts using earlier data. Harrison very clearly shows how the picture will not change until the fundamental bias towards impoverishment is lifted from the poor regions. London and the South East need to start paying their proper share of the common burden of public services and facilities. The wealth arising from the gain in land value is sucked away from the poorer regions to London like a magnet and Harrison shows how one of the consequences of the neglect of this important fact is to leave people suffering greater illness and earlier death back there. Arguably this book contains the most intellectually convincing justifications for land value tax in modern times and governments neglect its message to the loss of citizens everywhere. For more: see this Blog under the Harrison link for 2007, 9 July and 2006, 5 & 11 Nov.
For a Labour government in the UK, so outwardly concerned with poverty, not to have even considered seriously the possibility that the economic paradigm they were using might be wrong reveals appalling closed minds. Fred Harrison testifies to failed attempts by him to appeal to both Labour and Tory governments to look at alternatives.
So the battle remains with us, the ordinary people. As David Korten has recently written in his book: Agenda for a new Economy: ‘When the people lead the leaders will follow’.
If this means anything to you, think of who you could send this blog link to…and do so. And let me know of any good links too. Even if politicians seem unable to think beyond their next sound-bite, at least we can key-in the e-mail addresses of friends with a possibility of opening their minds a little.