In his March 2017 Budget speech, Chancellor Philip Hammond argued that ‘tackling Britain’s productivity challenge’ is the ‘cornerstone to ‘raising living standards; as well as to ‘prepare Britain for a brighter future’ after Brexit. Hammond’s comments aren’t new and, in fact, reflect those of Gordon Brown 20 years ago that: ‘The first challenge is to increase our productivity’. However, while lacklustre productivity has hung over the UK, and all Western economies for decades, there seems little idea as to what to do about it, or to deliver a better future for all.
In his new book, Creative Destruction: How to start an economic renaissance, economist Phil Mullan argues that the only way to ensure a better future is to create one. For Mullan, what is needed is comprehensive economic restructuring backed by political and cultural change. For too long state intervention has been about ‘stabilising’ the economy: creating a corporate dependency that has entrenched economic stagnation.
This restructuring means embracing the painful disruption involved in letting the low-productivity parts of the economy go, to allow new sources of wealth creation to flourish. Crucially, for Mullan, this means seizing both the economic and democratic opportunities offered by Brexit.
So how do we create an economic renaissance? Do we need a bout of creative destruction, or should caution still reign? And does Brexit offer important opportunities to act decisively to renew British capitalism?
Phil will introduce his book followed by questions and comments from our critical panel, before discussion is opened-up to the audience.