Saturday, August 18, 2012

The best idlers in the world

A gaggle of Tory MPs has declared:
Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor.
I was so shocked when I read this during my mid-afternoon two-hour internet break on Friday that I had to go and have a lie down. After my union rep explained the situation, my line manager was very understanding.

Now that I’m recovered, I’ve been wondering: if we’re such a useless, lazy bunch, this would show up in the growth figures, wouldn’t it? So, here’s a chart of GDP per capita growth among the G7 countries over the last two decades (OECD data):

Oddly, the idling Brits seem to be up front. And this isn’t a matter of us coasting on an unsustainable debt-fuelled boom. We’d taken the lead before the excessive borrowing of the 2000s set in, and we’ve held the lead following the crash.

So it looks as though we’ve been doing something right, and that Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss are missing something.

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