Why we need public spending

David Hall at the University of Greenwich in the U.K. recently produced a really good report on Why we need public spending. 

It’s over 70 pages in length, is well-written, has a great deal of really useful material from around the world (including charts and graphics and extensive references) making the argument for why public spending is so important from an economic, social and environmental perspective: not just in terms of stimulus spending in response to financial crises but also in terms of long-term economic growth. 

It also deals with fiscal issues, including the need for fair and progressive taxation, government deficits and debts, problems with P3s, and a section on the politics of public spending.

It’s very worthwhile reading and as a reference.


  • Hi Toby,

    I think one of the issues here in north amerce contra europe, is the nation that somehow public sector spending is a waste.

    Austerity in europe has brought forth a backlash, and my feeling is the success much of the public discourse around such notions are a lot more productive than what we have on this side of the ocean.

    The key for me is the baseline spending effect on future productivity. I am sure the correlation is massive.

    Economics are turning medieval, or potentially have always been.

    Happy holidays.

  • Economics are turning medieval?
    Actually, I think that’s kind of unfair to the medieval folks. Medieval landowners tended to think relatively long term. Sure, they didn’t think in terms of public works as we think of them, but they did think in terms of developing the land. The hope was that they would leave the land more productive for their children and grandchildren than it was when it came to them. Not a whole lot of movers and shakers thinking that way these days.

    Actually, that contrast between landed aristocrats and capitalists was given sharp relief during the industrial revolution, as the former were being displaced by the latter–the aristocrats called the money men “mushrooms”, to emphasize that they had no roots or permanence, appearing from nothing and tending to disappear into nothing. It’s been a couple of hundred years now and the insult still feels pretty applicable–more so if anything.

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