Due July 2019
This book is a response to the fundamental questions that have confronted the UK economy for decades which successive governments of the right and the left have failed to deal with adequately. Some of these questions are obvious, such as ‘Why does poverty still beset a large number of people, whilst others are grossly well-off?’; ‘Why are house prices continuously rising much faster than inflation, so that more and more people are left without a house of their own, or are borne down by the weight of a mortgage?’; ‘Why does UK productivity remain persistently low, despite constantly improving technology?’.
Other questions are less obvious, or are ignored through a belief that they arise from the natural order of things, such as ‘Why do the majority of workers find themselves as employees in jobs that give them little real sense of fulfilment?’; ‘Why is there awful traffic congestion, despite heavy expenditure on transport infrastructure?’; ‘Why does the tax system fail to bring about greater equality, despite progressive rates of tax on incomes?’.
All these questions, obvious or not, are perennial ones, not particularly related to membership of the European Union, but in another sense this book has a lot to do with Brexit, for the simple reason that Brexit leaves the UK economy in a new, unprecedented position. This inevitably arouses both hopes and fears of substantial change. Such hopes and fears may be irrational, but they raise the possibility of genuine reform. However, the author argues, Brexit alone does not change anything fundamental about the economy.
Why this is so, is because what requires fundamental reform is not any features of being in or out of the EU, but more deeply embedded ones, which have generally been established for a very long time. They are principally threefold: the taxation system, the land tenure system, and the banking system. All three require root and branch reform. The concerns engendered by Brexit may provide an opportunity lacking in more equable times.
Brian Hodgkinson qualified as a chartered accountant in the City of London, then won a scholarship to Oxford where he took a first in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and won the George Webb Medley Prize in Economics. Subsequently he taught Philosophy in the Social Studies School at Sussex University, before switching to teaching Economics in Sixth Forms. As the founder editor of British Economy Survey, he kept in touch with applied economics and questions of public policy. He is the author of A New Model of the Economy, The Advancement of Civilisation in the Western World and several other books.
Outline contents: Introduction, Rent, Wages, Capital, Structure of Industry, Property, Taxation, Public Expenditure, Money Banking and Interest, Transport, Housing, Public Utilities, Retailing, Agriculture, Foreign Trade and Investment, Historical Outline, Economic Justice.