Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Regno Unito

Regno Unito. Sta entrando in una epoca di ineluttabile declino. È in depressione.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-07-03.

0000-0000__ Gran Bretagna 001

Questo era il Regno Unito che ammiravamo: Regno Unito.

Oggi come oggi i macrodati riportati nella figura dovrebbero essere fin troppo chiari.

La inflazione misurata come Ppi si colloca al 22.1%, con un Pci del 9.1%.

Le vendite al dettaglio sono calate del 5.7% anno su anno ed il mercato delle nuove immatricolazioni delle automobili segnala un -20.6% anno su anno.

Il Regno Unito è in una fase depressiva che mal si attaglia con il furor belli di Johnson. Poi, di qui ad implodere il passo è breve.

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Gli echi degli anni ’70 e dei primi anni ’80 sono attualmente impossibili da ignorare nel Regno Unito.

Oltre agli shock sul lato dell’offerta, alla crescita stentata, all’insostenibilità delle finanze pubbliche e all’impennata dei prezzi, anche le agitazioni sindacali stanno tornando in auge.

I sindacati stanno pianificando scioperi in una minacciata “estate del malcontento”.

I sindacati dovrebbero riflettere bene prima che la Gran Bretagna entri in una nuova era di declino economico.

La Banca d’Inghilterra prevede che l’inflazione raggiungerà un picco di oltre l’11% entro la fine dell’anno, soprattutto a causa delle perturbazioni causate dal Covid e dalla guerra in Ucraina.

Questo sta abbassando il tenore di vita perché i salari non tengono il passo.

Ma il personale che non viene pagato se non può recarsi nelle fabbriche e negli uffici è stato meno fortunato, così come molti altri che dipendono da loro.

La RMT afferma che è tutta colpa del governo, lamentando un’indebita pressione sulle finanze del sistema e gli sforzi per limitare i salari e tagliare il personale.

Aumenti salariali più vicini al tasso di inflazione sarebbero sostenibili se combinati con sforzi reali per migliorare la produttività, soprattutto eliminando i posti di lavoro non più necessari.

Una volta innescata la spirale, l’unico modo per contenere l’inflazione è comprimere la domanda con una politica fiscale e monetaria così stretta da far crollare la produzione e aumentare la disoccupazione.

Si prevedono accordi salariali inferiori al tasso di inflazione per insegnanti, personale delle amministrazioni locali, medici e infermieri del Servizio Sanitario Nazionale e altri

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«Echoes of the 1970s and early 1980s are impossible to ignore in the UK at the moment»

«On top of supply-side shocks, sputtering growth, unsustainable public finances and soaring prices, labor unrest is also staging a comeback»

«Unions are planning strikes of their own in a threatened “summer of discontent»

«The unions need to think hard before Britain finds itself entering a new era of economic decline»

«The Bank of England expects inflation to peak at more than 11% later this year — a consequence mainly of the disruptions caused by Covid and the war in Ukraine»

«This is lowering living standards because wages aren’t keeping up»

«But staff who don’t get paid unless they can travel to factories and offices were less fortunate, and so were many others that depend on them»

«The RMT says it’s all the government’s fault, complaining of undue pressure on the system’s finances and efforts to cap wages and cut staffing»

«Pay increases closer to the rate of inflation would be sustainable if combined with real efforts to improve productivity — especially by eliminating jobs that are no longer necessary»

«Once that spiral gets started, the only way to contain inflation is by squeezing demand so tightly with fiscal and monetary policy that output slumps and unemployment surges»

«Pay deals offering less than the rate of inflation are expected for teachers, local-government staff, doctors and nurses in the National Health Service, and others»

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The UK Risks Entering a New Era of Economic Decline

Echoes of the 1970s and early 1980s are impossible to ignore in the UK at the moment. On top of supply-side shocks, sputtering growth, unsustainable public finances and soaring prices, labor unrest is also staging a comeback. Last week, strikes shut down the country’s railway system and brought the London Underground to a halt. Other unions are planning strikes of their own in a threatened “summer of discontent.”

All that’s bad enough — but this return to the dysfunction of five decades ago has been happening alongside the still-unfolding consequences of Brexit. It’s a perilous juncture. The unions need to think hard before Britain finds itself entering a new era of economic decline.

To be sure, the resurgence of union activism is understandable. The Bank of England expects inflation to peak at more than 11% later this year — a consequence mainly of the disruptions caused by Covid and the war in Ukraine. This is lowering living standards because wages aren’t keeping up. The gap is especially conspicuous in the heavily unionized public sector, where ministers and managers are trying to contain costs. The private-sector jobs market is tighter, with many firms bidding against each other to recruit and retain staff.

Groups led by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) withdrew some 40,000 members from train operators and from state-owned Network Rail (which manages the tracks) last Tuesday, with further stoppages on Thursday and Saturday. This staging left trains in the wrong place in the intervening days, assuring disruption all week. Granted, the pandemic has accustomed people to remote working, so much of the economy took the stoppage in stride. But staff who don’t get paid unless they can travel to factories and offices were less fortunate, and so were many others that depend on them.

The RMT says it’s all the government’s fault, complaining of undue pressure on the system’s finances and efforts to cap wages and cut staffing. Ministers counter that commuting has changed post-lockdown, curbing revenue, and that unions oppose reforms to raise productivity. There’s truth on both sides, which suggests scope for compromise. Pay increases closer to the rate of inflation would be sustainable if combined with real efforts to improve productivity — especially by eliminating jobs that are no longer necessary. Unions should be more willing to have those discussions, especially where jobs can be phased out through natural wastage.

Some measure of public-sector pay restraint will likely be needed to break an incipient wage-price spiral and maintain the supply of public services. Once that spiral gets started, the only way to contain inflation is by squeezing demand so tightly with fiscal and monetary policy that output slumps and unemployment surges. At the same time, public-sector workers shouldn’t be asked to keep on making bigger sacrifices than the rest of the labor force. Good wages in return for cooperation on efficiency and productivity is the right way forward.

The rail strikes might be just the beginning. Pay deals offering less than the rate of inflation are expected for teachers, local-government staff, doctors and nurses in the National Health Service, and others. In these negotiations, the government should strive to be fair. But before public workers set about entrenching inflation and bringing on the next recession, they should remember the 1970s, and ask themselves whether a hobbled economy really serves their long-term interests.