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If you want a book on economics to take to the beach, you are spoiled for choice at the airport bookstall. What you will find falls into three categories: Thump books, microeconomics books with little economics and the macroeconomic story-teller.
In practice, the only successful method of reducing public spending as a share of GDP has been to impose tight curbs while the economy is growing rapidly. We shall be lucky if such an opportunity appears.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was the defining economic event of our lifetime. It marked the end of the most extensive controlled experiment in the history of social sciences – the division of Germany into two economic zones, one centralised and planned, the other a market economy. After forty years, the gap in living standards between the two was so extreme that the experiment was terminated.
The crippling consequence of inability to admit error is the impossibility of learning from past mistakes.