The UK’s latest growth rates are out. Here’s what they actually mean

In sum: we're okay, construction nay, services yay

More stats are out on how well the UK economy is doing at the moment.

What it means: Every few months the government releases figures on 'GDP', or 'gross domestic product' – that's the value of all the goods and services we produce, added up together. The number you usually see in the news is the 'growth' rate – how much the value of all our output has grown or shrunk – rather than the absolute figure itself.

This time, it's grown by an average of 0.2% in the last three months, which is pretty much what people expected. The proportion of GDP from construction and manufacturing is lower than before, which means we're doing less of that, and/or what we're doing is of lower value. But we're doing more in services than we were a few months ago (that's things like programming, legal services, etc).

Generally speaking people tend to assume a growing economy is a good thing – it could mean more people are producing higher value goods, earning money, paying taxes, all that good stuff. But just looking at the percentage figure doesn't really tell you enough: you've got to investigate where that growth is happening and who's benefiting from it to really make up your mind on whether you think it's beneficial.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?