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I wonder if this is having an impact... today on iTélé during some debate, a commentator from the magazine Challenges (founded by Mr. Besson of Judas fame) pointed out the 2 million inapts of the UK model...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu May 10th, 2007 at 05:26:23 PM EST
that data circulates, and the UK press, when it is focused on domestic matters, will highlight such things.

The problem is that that kind of information does not make it into the more general discourse about macroeconomic policy and discussions of international comparisons and globalisation.

It's just like peak oil is being discussed here and there, but not at all taken into account when things like 'the future of the car industry' or 'the future of airports' are being discussed.

How do we bring what are seen as isolated, self-standing problems into the big picture.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 05:02:54 AM EST
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People are not generally able to relate what they know in two different areas. Being able to make connections between disparate information is what leads to knowledge and "insight".

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 05:30:25 AM EST
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Here are some links on the question of the high numbers of beneficiaries of Incapacity Benefit in the UK:

OECD says ET was right about UK unemployment

The Beatty-Fothergill report referred to in the above diary.

An article written for Bloomberg by Warren Mosler, including: Unemployment has been redefined rather than reduced.

This comment from Detlef adds another study to Beatty & Fothergill : Inactivity, Sickness and Unemployment in Great Britain: Early Analysis at the Level of Local Authorities

The facts have been publicly recognized. See:

House of Commons Select Committee on Work and Pensions

BBC piece on a government decision to act.

From the BBC article, there is a near-admission by an official spokesman:

"That core issue is of people in deprived areas being on incapacity benefit an trapped in a vicious circle where they find it difficult to get off incapacity benefit," said the spokesman.

He also pointed out that 90% of claimants want to get back into work. (my bold)

The point (from the angle of comparing economies) is that, in France, most of these people would be classified "unemployed" and thus swell the unemployment rate. It might be argued that the UK has always presented this characteristic and the comparison with France is still valid, but that is not so: the number on Incapacity Benefit in the UK tripled between 1997 and 2002 to attain 2.5 mn. In other words, New Labour's back-to-work drive forced many long-term unemployed out of the unemployment stats and into "inactivity".

Of course, economists and pundits continue to compare official unemployment rates to prove the UK model superior.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 05:22:58 AM EST
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And the economists and pundits are either incompetent or lying.

I guess I should get back to my unemployment statistics series at some stage.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 05:26:31 AM EST
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posting again as a diary, to have in a more easily accessible form than a comment deep down this diary.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 11th, 2007 at 07:21:29 AM EST
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