4 thoughts on “Oil exports, “unknown region” and trade balances

  1. This is a top piece of work, Mr Whyte. Many thanks.

    Some of the output you quote from the Scottish Government is most unsettling. Firstly, there is that misleading explanation of the ‘unknown region’. Then there is that stuff about possible depreciation of sterling as a result of Brexit – completely ignoring the fact that depreciation of a currency has a substantial upside, which is that it boosts exporters and indigenous manufacturers and producers (which is why both China and Norway (for example) both game the system to keep their currencies low; and which is why the British economy rebounded so spectacularly after the pound fell off a cliff against the DM on Black Wednesday). It really is economics 101, but whoever’s producing this stuff either doesn’t know that (possible), or is deliberately trying to deceive those who don’t know economics 101 into thinking that a depreciation of a currency is automatically some kind of disaster. Whatever the case, it stinks.

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    1. It is of course a ‘disaster’ if you spend all your spare cash on imported manufactured goods like so many of our fellow citizens, a significant fall in sterling equates to a significant increase in much of their fun spending and in a consumer society like ours that prospect isn’t an enticing vote winner. However if you have a decent spread of investments in companies that are globally valued then it’s not necessarily that bad. Hence those who are likely to profit most immediately from a devaluation are those that hold investments, either overseas or in multinat companies, rather than savings (or worse just their income), i.e. the comfortable and the wealthy. Longer-term it will offer a boost to exports, which might bring new jobs, although maybe not as many as once would have been the case as outsourcing to Asia may still be competetive and increasing use of automation and computerisation may temper manufacturing and admin job opportunities. In the latter scenarion devaluation might make companies money, but the benefits of that may these days accrue increasingly to owners/shareholders rather than workers.

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  2. Fraser … having posted on Common Space (CS) about these issues, I was eventually directed here and offer my thanks for the work you have put into this, I have only scanned so far, but even that has proved helpful, and I think corrective of my post on CS … which at its heart (irrespective of political perspective) was about the need for accurate and verifable data, which allows for the debates on the subjects which confront us in Scotland.

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    1. Hi Mike, I appreciate the comment

      I would agree that the data, such as it has been attempted to be used, would benefit from some clarity – particularly on the recent evidenceless claims about how much of Scotland’s exports to rUK then go straight on to the EU.

      However I’d argue that the onus for providing this clarity lies with those who are seeking constitutional change. In much the same way that ScotGov would not feel the need to provide data on ‘exports’ between Grampian and Lothian, so there’s no real requirement for UKGov to quantify ‘exports’ from Scotland to Wales.

      Again, I appreciate your comment.

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