July 22, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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“The government is swimming in a free money trap.”

“The government is swimming in a free money trap.”

The current government, as well as those before it, have fallen into the “free money trap.” Economist Arnaud Bout draws this conclusion from a report by the Council of Government Architects and Government Consultants (CRa). According to the advisory body, the current economic system has reached its limits and everything depends on the available space.

What conclusion do you draw from the report?

And then we come to the main conclusion, which is that they are actually saying that this Dutch government and the one that preceded it have fallen into a kind of free money trap. It was believed that money allowed all kinds of private parties – from companies like Tata Steel to agricultural companies – to do good. This council is actually saying: “Forget the money, the government will return to real responsibility.”

What is that responsibility?

This is organizing the country’s space properly. How do you really want to see economic activities – and other activities – organized in the next 50 years? For a longer period of time you have to define space, because if you build something on it you put a jacket on. So they are basically saying: Stop investing in companies, and look at the areas and how they should be used in the future. How do you want to contribute to the good use of space?

How does the government deal with this?

I have no other word for it: compensation company. The moment you start waving bags of money around without any real tailor-made agreements, all the private players will sit back. Then they will wait for more money to come in. Then they may start moving. So you as a government have taken on the wrong responsibility entirely. The responsibility you have to take is about how you use the space and enforce the rules. And when that happens, companies rarely choose to go elsewhere. In my view, the new government’s efforts are not about tailor-made agreements, they are about implementation. For example, at Tata Steel on noise, air pollution and nuisance.

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The current government, as well as its predecessors, have fallen into the “free money trap”. Economist Arnaud Bout draws this conclusion from a report by the Council of Government Architects and Advisors (CRa). Photo: Stock Birkin