Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What About Growth?

I've been reading Tyler Cowen's The Great Stagnation on my iPad using the Kindle app from Amazon (guess that makes me an 'Infovore'!) He discussed it recently on EconTalk.

Tyler's thesis - captured in the sub-title - is that America has reaped the benefits of all the 'easy growth', and now needs to find a way to secure further growth from 'higher hanging fruit'.

Although his focus is mainly on the United States, I can't help feeling that much of what he has to say is extremely relevant to Ireland right now (and to the UK). Indeed, what amazes me is how little attention has been given to the issue of economic growth over the course of Ireland's General Election. Following on from my recent Wordle experience, I went back and used the word count feature to find out how often the word 'growth' is mentioned in each of the manifestos. Here are the results:

Fine Gael: 6 mentions
Labour: 2 mentions
Fianna Fail: 1 mention
Sinn Fein: 0 mentions
Green Party: 0 mentions

Which is worrying. We rapidly need to agree a road map for growthsizing the economy over the rest of this decade. Burning bond holders, balancing budgets and bashing the bankers won't make a blind bit of difference if we end up experiencing a 'lesser stagnation' a la Tyler's hypothesis.

Mind you, I've a feeling quite a few candidates are going to have a lot of time on their hands after Friday, so perhaps they'll get a chance to download the book to their own eReader of choice in the weeks ahead?

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