Art Laffer once again extols the performance of the Turkish economy
Notable US economist Art Laffer continues to extol the performance of the Turkish economy. In an email to Yeni Safak, a pro-Erdoğan Turkish daily which borders on being a propaganda outlet, Laffer said “Turkey is the biggest surprise I’ve had in a long time” and that “Turkey’s economy is one of the best performing economies in the world.” To back up his characterization he cited Turkey’s low corporate and income tax rates, there privatization of state companies and their significant reductions in national debt. Laffer’s email basically mirrored a speech he gave in Turkey about 2 weeks ago in which he quipped that he would gladly swap Erdoğan for Obama on matters of economics.
In strictly economic terms, Laffer may be justified in praising Turkey’s economic policies, which are conducive to promoting economic growth and increasing prosperity for Turks. Yet, however beneficial such policies are in theory, they have not been a panacea, as Turkey still suffers from high employment, which for the month of June was 10.2% a 0.6 percentage point increase year-over-year, and just recently had its sovereign debt downgraded to junk status by Moody’s. Furthermore, as I have explained in a previous post, there is more to life than just economics, a fact that many economists lose sight of, and while Erdoğan may be implementing some economically sound policies, he is nonetheless an authoritarian ruler who dreams of creating a new Ottoman empire.
To obtain a different perspective on the state of Turkish society, I recommend that you read Burak Bekdil’s article Absurdstan: A Turkish theory of heaven. Things are not as rosy in Turkey as Laffer presumes.