Great news from the Bank of England: economic recovery from The Black Death is continuing to show momentum.

This stunning chart from the Bank’s website shows the economic upturn has now entered its 667th year. Wars, crises, crashes and recessions have been mere blips as the economy powers on to new all-time peaks.

To publicise the launch of a more open research agenda, the Bank is offering a £5,000 prize to the best data visualisation using one (or more) of six datasets it has added to its website.

By far the dataset attracting most initial interest was the centuries of macroeconomic research data, which makes a whole treasure trove of long run data – such as wages and prices from 1661 to 2012 – available to the general public.

Economic setbacks barely signify in this long upward sweep. But not everyone agrees with the presentation of data.

Says Heinz MacKiosk, Professor of Economic Doom and Foreboding at Fort Kinnaird University, “The chart totally ignores the effects of grinding austerity and savage public sector cuts.

“Who in the squeezed middle believes the economy has been growing almost without interruption since The Black Death?

“The reality is that the recovery has been totally superficial and has taken a very long time to emerge – 664 years.

“And it omits the evidence of an underlying seasonally adjusted structural GDP downturn in the third quarter. Adjusted for this, the chart would clearly show, as I have warned for years, we are on the brink of an epochal downturn. ”

But said Dr Happy GoLucky at the Faculty of Behavioural Economics, Carluke Academy, “The graphs totally bear out what I’ve been saying for years – there has been no setback since 1350. The Great Depression was nothing more than a tiny pothole in the broad superhighway of growth.

“The government’s policies are broadly on track. The dark days of debt and deficit in the Gordon Brown Black Death era have been left well behind.”

But Scottish government economist Hector MacDrizzle said the figures do not reflect the experience in Scotland and the grim reality of food banks, welfare cuts and mass unemployment.

“Unlike UK data, our figures have not been boosted by including contributions to GDP from drug trafficking and prostitution. And they don’t include our plans for high speed broadband roll-out and dualling the A9.

“And don’t forget this totally omits the most recent data from Scotland.  Latest Scottish GDP numbers for the third quarter of 1350 are not due to be released until mid-July. That should bring us a bang up to date picture.”


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