19 MAY 1973, Page 27

The booming economy

From Sir Arthur J. Dash Sir: Your leading article ' Can the boom last? ' in the issue of the Spectator ot May 12, has caused me to ponder about the prospects of the country's economy. It will be easily perceived by anyone who, cares to read this letter than I am no economist. Nevertheless, I am pessimistic about the future of the economy and not only for the reasons given in your article mentioned above.

I look upon the present state of the economy as analogous to that of an agricultural settlement in the middle of a forest. Growth for such a settlement may well be a desirable aim but it means clearing an additional area of forest. However, the first thing the community has to ensure is survival until the next harvest becomes ready for consumption. A stock of food may have to be forthcoming to ensure this survival. Yet improvident members of the community may say that the quantity of food set aside for this purpose is excessive and based on undue pessimism. The improvident members of the community may take an unduly optimistic view of what should be provided for mere survival. They may take a similarly over-optimistic view of what is needed to provide for growth. It would therefore be only prudent to oppose any such tendencies on the part of the improvident parts of the community and it may well become necessary to advise the whole community that survival and growth are only possible if the community as a whole is ready to work harder and consume less.

Unfortunately, the publicity media seem to encourage exactly the opposite. The community is encouraged by the media and by Government policy to consume more and work less. Government policy seems to provide incentives to consume more and to borrow more for consumption. No doubt this is an acceptable policy for the workers but it must prevent all chance of growth and consume all the accumulated working capital so necessary to maintain existing standards of living.

The likely outcome of the present Government's economic policy seems to be the destruction of present standards of living. The boom in investment may merely be a boom in the acceleration of unsound consumption and must therefore be futile.

Arthur Dash Barton Lodge, Rolvenden, Cranbrook, Kent.