It is now widely realised that many of our present economic ills stem from a cardinal error, the belief that inflation and unemployment presented a choice of evils. We have learned to our cost that inflationary measures designed in good faith to abate unemployment have eventually intensified it, leaving us with the worst of both worlds.
This new awareness, which is now common ground between Government and Opposition, owes much to Sir Keith Joseph 's forceful expositions which had to brave considerable opprobrium before the tide of opinion was finally turned.
But—Sir Keith now argues in his ‘Stockton Lecture’—there is a danger that the old errors will creep back in new form, with vast state expenditures maintained on the pretext that their reduction could cause much worse unemployment. His case is that this expenditure is financed largely at the expense of the small and medium businesses and unsubsidised larger firms which together remain our main source of employment and national wealth. So—he argues—for every job artificially maintained by public money, several workers go on to short-time working or lose their job altogether, as the private sector is squeezed harder.
I recommend this booklet, not only to Conservatives but to all who wish to grasp this crucial element in our complex social equation.