Douglas Carswell

27 DEC 2015

The gentleman in Whitehall is inept

Do you trust the "experts" in the Treasury to manage the economy? Would you trust them if you knew the economic data they use was less than 80% accurate at best?

It turns out that the UK is one of the least reliable advanced countries in compiling accurate economic data. This dodgy data is what the Chancellor and the Bank of England base their grand plans on. Anyone spot the flaw here?

The inaccuracy of our economic data might explain a lot. It may tell us why Government borrowing always overshoots projections. It might give us a clue why so many people in Britain feel no better off even though the economy is supposedly growing.

How do you measure the product of an entire economy accurately though? The truth is it's impossible. A major economy comprises trillions of individual transactions – more than anyone can possibly understand, let alone keep track of. Every metric we use to measure growth is only a broad estimate, and GDP is a pretty suspect estimate at that.

If measuring the economy is beyond us, how can we possible expect to manage it? The idea that any "expert" can run the economy and allocate resources better than the market is what Hayek called the fatal conceit. Yet this delusion is part of the DNA of our political Establishment.

Believing in the free market is about recognising that the gentleman in Whitehall doesn't know best. It is about trusting millions of individuals to manage their own affairs rather than putting our faith in the tiny elite that keeps getting its sums wrong with disastrous results. Hubristic central planning is what holds our economy back. The route to prosperity is to set the economy – and the people – free.

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