THE STRATEGY is set for the general election on 7 May next year. Expect 12 more months of Labour banging on about the cost of living crisis, and a year of the Conservatives talking up the long-term economic plan. If only they weren’t both wrong.
Yes, the Conservatives can justifiably point out the country’s return to a decent rate of growth and heartening levels of job creation. Labour understandably enough is looking the other way, focusing on how tough it can still feel to live in Britain in the wake of a vicious recession. Statistical grandstanding is better than anecdotal resentment, but as they talk past one another, both sides miss the point: a truly flourishing modern economy will feel exciting wherever you stand.
That is the big idea behind Mass Flourishing, a book published late last year by the Nobel-winning economist Edmund Phelps. There’s been much talk of Thomas Piketty’s new book in recent weeks. With its appeal to cut the richest down to size with punitive wealth taxes, it’s an ugly thing in clever clothes. Phelps’s book deserves much more attention.