Economics for Gui-d’oh Fawkes


On his blog, Guido has an article showing a venn diagram of G20 countries. He claims that:

“The big circle shows the all 20 members of the G20, the left-hand set comprises those members who are out of recession, the small right hand set contains those countries still in recession.  This is one chart you won’t see on Will Straw’s Left Foot Forward…

“Embarrassingly for Gordon Brown, who sees himself as financial saviour and leader of the world, the only member country of the G20 still in recession is the UK.”

Now Left Foot Forward is aware that it must be doing something right if it has become a target of Guido’s fire but we couldn’t possibly stand by and let something so inaccurate pass without comment.

The ‘Output, prices, and jobs‘ section of this week’s Economist clearly shows that there are at least five G20 countries still in recession: Britain, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, and Russia. Spain, who attend G20 meetings, are also still in recession.

Indeed, the Economist data suggest that only Australia, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia recorded positive growth (year-on-year) in the quarter for which data is most recently available.

Left Foot Forward tried to point out the error of Guido’s ways on his blog but our comment had not yet been published as we went to press. Perhaps Guido doesn’t like the truth.

UPDATE 17.17

While we’re on the subject, take a look at this graph of unemployment across the G20. It shows where the UK lies in relation to unemployment. Source: Bloomberg.

G20 unemployment

UPDATE 18.08

Left Foot Forward believes in evidence and we’re happy to concede when someone else has better evidence than we do. It turns out that Guido was more up-to-date so we’re happy to eat a little humble pie (and remove the Guido’s dunce cap). Comments are closed on this post.

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  • James

    Are you reading those figures correctly?

    I think are looking at the wrong column when you state that only 6 countries are experiencing positive growth. The first column compares to the same quarter last year – whereas the second column show growth on qtr – which demonstrates the Eurozone is growing again.

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  • http://atoryblog.blogspot.com Man in a Shed

    Well you’d better pen a riposte at the Daily Mail also. They cite Vince Cable and George Osborne also.

    Osborne is quoted as saying ‘Gordon Brown used to boast about leading the G20 but it is now official that Britain is the only G20 country still in recession. Labour’s disastrous economic policies meant Britain was one of the first into recession and now we are the last out.’ (Maybe its all to do with just using left feet that means you can’t climb out of recession ?)

    So who’s right ?

  • Joanna

    and I think you shouldn’t rely on the Economist – all of those countries’ statistics offices have confirmed that they grew in the second or third quarter. so unfortunately for you, Guido is right

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  • http://www.order-order.com Guido Fawkes

    D’Oh!

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  • http://www.order-order.com Guido Fawkes

    You’ll be eating that hat with the ‘D’ on it before bedtime.

  • John McClane

    Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Russia and Spain? Good company then. At least three of those are classified by the BoE as being developing countries.

    http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/cwc/2009/jun/Tablec.pdf

  • willstraw

    James – Not quite. 1st column is definitely year-on-year. But the 2nd column is quarter-on-quarter at an annualised rate, which is why we put that in bold.

    Man in a Shed – Cable and Osborne have been a little hasty in their pronouncements, as has Guido.

    Joanna – If you have links for Mexico, South Africa, Russia, or Spain, I’d love to seem them. Canada I’ll concede has just recorded a positive quarter of growth.

    Guido – When are you going to publish my comment on your blog?

  • Marcus Roberts

    It’s also worth considering the comparative trade offs in some of these so-called ‘recoveries’ – double digit unemployment rates versus a slower return to GDP growth. Back to Krugman: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/29/growth-and-jobs/

  • http://www.order-order.com Guido Fawkes

    Err, just checked, it has been published.

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