Here in the UK we get eight public holidays every year. Now I don’t know about you but I look forward to these holidays. They are a chance to recharge, to meet up with friends, spend relaxing time with family. Apart from the folks who have to work on public holidays to keep essential services running (sincere thanks to you), these holidays are ours to spend how we choose.
I also like the fact that they fall on certain days, the fact that a lot of people will be taking time off on a certain determined day lends a kind of mega-community feel to the public holiday. Public holidays are a part of our social fabric and I believe people return to work from them feeling generally better about themselves, and in a good frame of mind to do good work.
Which is why I’m delighted that I don’t work for the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). This week the CEBR published a piece of total crap suggesting that UK public holidays ‘cost the economy £2.3 billion’ and in addition they ask ‘Do we really need so many?’ The article is littered with numbers and percentages and as you read through it you feel the deathly hand of the economist on your shoulder. It reminds me of Harry Potter and co as they struggle to fend off the soul sucking misery of Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters.
I stuck a link to this article on our Facebook page yesterday and Marco Faimali got in touch saying, ‘Everything seems to be about costs to ‘the economy’. Whatever happened to the costs to society or gross national happiness?’ Chris followed up with the excellent ‘As Bobby Kennedy said “GDP measures everything except what makes life worthwhile”.
Right at the death, the CEBR says, ‘This is more a social than an economic judgement. Money is not the only thing and a healthy lifestyle needs time off to reflect and relax.’ But by then it is too late. All that is left of the reader is a dry husk, a lost soul ready to be blown away on the breeze. Oscar Wilde’s quote ‘The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’ is often turned into a joke about economists. It’s a crap joke and I ain’t laughing. Now get back to work willya, GDP just dropped another millionth of a percent.