Monday, February 4, 2013

From the Luddites to the UK Unemployment Mystery

Some recent blog posts at economicshelp.


uk debt 

Total UK debt has risen to over 500% of GDP. One of biggest in world's second only to Japan. Don't panic!
  •  How bad is government debt? A popular question, but not so straightforward to answer. Why debt can be good or bad depending on when, for what, and how you borrow
  •  The Treasury View - What the Treasury view is in economics. It is actually a belief of economics that pre-dates the creation of macro-economics. In essence, it means balance the budget at all costs. To a large extent the UK treasury has been following this old fashioned 'Treasury view' 
  •  High Street shopping and buying online. Is window shopping on the high street becoming a free rider problem? 
 Quick links

1 comment:

jon livesey said...

I was slightly amazed to see this post. To add sovereign debt to household debt and commercial debt certainly gets you a number, but it's a meaningless number, like adding a length to a temperature.

Sovereign debt isn't even really debt. It's a claim on a tiny slice of tax revenue in the future. Financial institutions don't buy sovereign to tide the Government over till Thursday, but to buy themselves a guaranteed income stream in the future.

Some household debt is net debt, such as credit card debt, but most is mortgage debt, which is gross, not net debt, since a mortgage is backed by a house. You can't add net to gross debt and expect to get a meaningful number.

Commercial debt is almost all gross debt, since businesses borrow to acquire assets. Currently, businesses are sitting on large amounts of cash, so they are borrowing for future expansion.

Commercial debt is either domestic or foreign. Domestic commercial debt is backed by the UK's industries, and foreign commercial debt is backed by about $6trn in overseas assets owned by UK individuals and companies. The UK has even more overseas assets than Germany, which is a significantly larger economy.