Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Fantasy Island, Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson

Magazine article Teaching Business & Economics

Fantasy Island, Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson

Article excerpt

ECONOMICS Fantasy Island, Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson, Constable, £7.99, paperback

I was lucky enough to attend a University of Hertfordshire event at which Larry Bliott delivered a presentation based on his book. I determined to acquire a copy online only to find out that stocks had already run out; others must have been similarly enthused. A foray into a branch of Waterstone's solved the problem; I was able to acquire the branch's last copy after a considerable search.

The book was in the politics section admittedly the branch did not have an economics section (I wonder whether thissays anything about the current status of economics) - but this may be a fair categorisation if one looks at the subtitle: Waking up to the Incredible Economic, Political and Social Illusions of the Blair Legacy. Publication has been timed nicely to coincide with the departure of Mr Blair from number 10 - an ideal starting point for an analysis of recent UK economic performance.

Larry Elliott and Dan Atkinson are wellknown financial and economics journalists and one would, therefore, not expect an inhibited exposition. The book lives up to expectations and then some. There is no textbook type balance and the authors do not shy away from polemic as this extract shows.

Fantasizing about our ability to run up debts, to enjoy high-paid employment for which we are not qualified, to protect military power we no longer possess, we yet assume an economic and political position superior to the rest of the world; we live in cloud cuckoo land.

The writing might be described as punchy. A further quotation makesthe point and indicates the general tone of the text.

Given that most people's incomes are linked directly to earrings from employment, how can shrinking prices be squared with a rise in the general standard of living? They cannot - in the real world But in the dreamy fantasy world we have inhabited making the impossible appear commonplace is no problem at all.

The chapter headingssimilarly underscore the authors' opinions. For example, there are chapters on The Ever-Louder Tick: Blair's Britain and the Debt Timebomb and Lonely Planet: How New Labour Triesto Spin the Environment.

To be fair, the authors do attempt to make a reasoned critique of New Labour's record and the first two chapters make the case for the Blair government and New Labour. …

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