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Ian Cuthbert - 22 Jan 2018
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Russia's performance has been extraordinarily erratic with modest growth and recession dominating the last five years. Brazil is now the second worst performing economy in Latin America.

Lord Jim O'Neill was headlining on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning, talking about how great the UK economy is doing, despite the vote for Brexit. An ardent Remain supporter until now, it's amazing how he and his ilk can flipflop their narratives without ever acknowledging just how wrong they get things. It was another reminder for me not to bother listening to Today. Why do people like O'Neill get such a platform from our big news media institutions?

While Jim O'Neill trumpets about how great the UK economy is doing since the EU referendum, he should take note of who benefits from the proceeds of growth. It ain't all about growth Jim. He should also remember that Brexit hasn't actually happened yet. All that 'growth' is happening via the EU infrastructure which we currently enjoy.

The adoration by the media of celebrity economists is very annoying. O'Neill, an arch cheerleader of capitalist economics, has no better track record of predicting the direction of our economy than the average A level economics student. His big moment was predicting the growth of the BRIC economies. Who'd have thought China and India might urbanise, industrialise and grow their economies!?

When O'Neill made his big projection, Russia had already been experiencing record levels of growth. Since then, it's performance has been extraordinarily erratic with modest growth and recession dominating the last five years. According to the World Bank, Brazil is now the second worst performing economy in Latin America. India, Russia and Brazil are three of the most unequal countries in the world, India now being the second most unequal.

This morning we have yet more horrifying data about how economic growth is really just growth for the privileged few, with just 42 people having as much wealth as the poorest 3.7bn people.

So why do we so often hear from these big name economists when their analysis is so often badly flawed or just wrong?

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