Bank of England deputy takes heat for describing shrinking economy as 'menopausal'

Business | May 16, 2018 18:21
A Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent, has apologized for his "poor choice of language'' after characterizing the national economy as "menopausal.''
The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has criticized the comment for its "lazy, sexist'' nature.
Twitter users responded angrily to the metaphor, The Times of London reports.
One woman wrote: "Highly offensive. Menopausal women are not ‘unproductive’.”
Robert Peston, ITV’s political editor, tweeted: "Sloppy, empirically unsound and potentially offensive use of language by Bank of England deputy governor. There is no reason to think menopausal people are less productive or past their peak . . . ”
Broadbent made the comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.
Broadbent, who sits on the committee that sets interest rates, said financial experts used the "menopausal” metaphor for economies that were "past their peak and no longer so potent”.
He said opinion was divided over the cause of Britain’s current productivity slowdown, which has lasted for nearly a decade and resulted in poor growth and stagnant wages. The knock-on effect for governments is that the tax-take becomes static, meaning less money for public spending.
During industrial revolutions, technological advances increase the amount of wealth produced by each worker, driving economic growth. Over the past 10 years, however, productivity levels have been weaker than expected, forcing the Government’s spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, to slash its predictions for economic growth last year. The OBR said low productivity growth would cause a £90 billion black hole in the balance sheet by denting tax receipts.
Broadbent said that something similar happened in the late Victorian era. Towards the end of the 19th century, British productivity "slowed pretty much to a halt” as it entered what he labelled a "climacteric” period.
The word "climacteric” is, according to Broadbent, a term that economists have borrowed from biology and means "you’ve passed your productive peak”. It has the same Latin roots as "climax” and means "menopausal, but it applies to both genders,'' he said, The Telegraph reported.-Photo: PA

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