miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2012

Geddes Axe

Y, Nihil novum sub sole

que sera Geddes Axe, a ver, Axe, hacha, a quien le cortaron la cabeza, ah

Geddes Axe: a brief explanation

The cuts that an incoming Conservative government will need to make will be the most severe since the 1920s, when the Geddes Axe was wielded. Harry Wallop explains why this 1922 policy still casts such a long shadow over politicians and economists.
An unemployed man with his family in Brighton 16 Nov 1921; Geddes Axe: a brief explanation
An unemployed man and his family on the streets of Brighton in 1921 
After the First World War, Britain was gripped by enormous debts and a growing sense of panic that the Government was hugely wasteful.
The national debt had risen dramatically from £677 million, about a quarter of the GDP, in 1910. By 1920 it was £7.81 billion, larger even than the country's GDP. A vast civil service, that had come together to administer the war effort, was still operating at full capacity, while spending on education had increased substantially. Many of the middle classes complained how their tax bills had shot up.
The Government was under pressure to do something. The Times newspaper noted in 1922: "There are signs of an astonished realisation of the alarming bill for civil pensions that in a few years will be a millstone on the taxpayer's neck."
The Anti-Waste League, formed by Lord Rothermere, had put up candidates and won three by-elections during 1921.

Observemos el termino, Anti-Waste league

y que paso?

It highlighted waste in all areas of public spending, including details such as there being a ratio of one cleaner for every vehicle in the Army.
Between 1921 and 1922 it recommended economies totalling £87 million, about 10 per cent of the country's entire GDP.
Though the cabinet only agreed to £52 million of cuts, these were enormous for the time and in the end, total cuts were larger than either of these figures. He was hailed a "superman" by one leading businessman, but the axe hit some people very hard and led to a large reduction in social benefits, particularly secondary education.
The biggest cuts were in the Army and Navy. The defence budget was cut by 42 per cent in the space of one year. But other workers were hit too.
Civil Service numbers were cut by 35 per cent - mostly female staff hired during the war.
At the close of 1921, wage cuts averaging 8 shillings a week had been imposed on 6 million workers. This equates to a £58 fall in today's money and led to growing anger against the government.

Como siempre

The cuts were driven by a Treasury desperate to keep a control of its debts, but they partly caused Britain's woes in the 1920s – a period of far greater economic trouble for the country than it ever experienced during the 1930s. The General Strike in 1926 can, in part, be explained by the mounting resentment caused by the cuts, though some ecomonists argue it helped Britain exit the vicious recession of 1919 to 1921 quicker than it might otherwise have done.
The Geddes Act, introduced by one of the great Liberal administrations, ironically gave impetus to burgeoning Labour Party. The number of seats it held rose from 59 in 1918 to 142 in 1922, reflecting a new coalition across class lines. It went on to form its first administration in 1924.



2 comentarios:

Andrés dijo...

Buenas Viktor,

En esa época, al menos permanecía la percepción de que, manteniendo un imperio rico en recursos naturales, la bonanza de crecimiento y prosperidad podía vovler. Hoy ya no.



Rogelio dijo...

Estimado Víctor:

En el paleolítico, a los clanes nómades dedicados a la caza y recolección se les planteaba el mismo problema cuando el clan agotaba los recursos de la región en la que se había estacionado.
Como no había economía monetaria ni se les ocurría plantearse una “solución AntiWaste” que sólo apareció después de edificada la “ilusión monetaria”.

Tenían pocas alternativas: 1) emigrar a nuevos territorios o 2) aguzar la creatividad para descubrir y aprovechar nuevos recursos que hasta el momento les habían pasado desapercibidos o habían reservado.
La emigración a territorios desconocidos les planteaba el riesgo inminente de confrontaciones, guerras y sus secuelas.
El aprovechamiento de nuevos recursos les exigía ingenio + inventiva y los colocaba ante el riesgo del fracaso.
Por defecto de ambas alternativas o de una combinación de ambas, les esperaba la extinción del clan.
Ojo: existe una tercera solución: matar una parte de los miembros del clan (por ejemplo, a los recién nacidos y a los viejitos). Pero, en realidad no es otra cosa que el diferimiento de la extinción.

Nihil novum sub sole
Como la tierra está casi totalmente reconocida (aunque no totalmente ocupada) estamos obligados a ser creativos.
Hoy justamente el Club of Rome está presentando una actualización del informe de 1970 “Los límites del crecimiento” e insisten en proponer una reducción conveniente de la población mundial. Véalo AQUÍ.

Saludos cordiales