The UK’s continued economic death: Is this an inherent symptomatic threat and warning for all EU nations?
April 18, 2011
Is the United Kingdom symptomatic of the wider issues and problems that the EU faces in the long-term?
For Britain in economic terms is bleeding to death and no-one seems to care. Over the last three decades the UK has lost 23 global businesses with the loss of millions of jobs to overseas predators in the main. Over the same period of time the UK has created only three global companies, such as Vodafone, for example.
The USA in comparison has lost only four global companies to overseas ownership but has created 17 global corporations over the same period. China has created 29 global firms over the last 10 years alone, 50% of which are in manufacturing. Spain and other EU nations have stopped crucial sales of the nation’s assets on grounds of national interest and Britain has not.
The UK’s three main political parties signed up to concentrating on an ill-thought out strategy to forget about manufacturing and concentrate ultimately on service industries, thus placing all their long-term economic eggs in one basket.
Indeed, in two decades’ time, most financial institutions will have moved from London to China, thus creating a further economic disaster for the United Kingdom. Through this strategy and taking inflation into account, Britain’s wealth has substantially decreased and it will be 2032 at the earliest by the time it has the wealth again that it had in 2005, if it actually can (cited from a leading economist).
This is in contrast to China et al, who march on relentlessly to economic domination. Some twenty years ago my institution warned of the dire threat from the growing manufacturing might of the East. No-one took any notice and predominantly not governments.
The reason? China, for example, is run by first-class engineers and scientists who knew a quarter of a century ago when they really started their strides towards economic dynamism that the wars of the 21st Century would not be military, but economic. In contrast, the UK is politically run predominantly by lawyers who have no comprehension or understanding of the power of innovation and what wealth it creates.
Indeed, when over forty ‘independent’ world-class scientists, engineers and technologists (including eight Nobel Laureates in the sciences) advised Blair and his government in 1997, when Labour came to power, they took no notice of these globally-applied thinkers.
Unfortunately the current coalition government in the UK is the same in this respect. ‘Independent’ thinking, totally removed from vested interests, is not entertained. This is the great weakness of government and all political parties with regard to economic thinking. Consequently Britain’s trade and industry strategies have failed us miserably and the UK’s decline is more-or-less assured by keeping to this status quo of yesterday’s thinking.
Unfortunately in a further two decades the United Kingdom, using this destructive mentality of ‘closed door’ accepted wisdom, will in real terms be poorer than most of the developing nations currently. I do not get any pleasure whatsoever in stating the consequences here.
Therefore this terrible state of Britain’s decline squarely lies at the feet of successive governments and in the UK, Whitehall’s uncompromising judgement that in the long term has literally been devastating for the nation.
It is therefore time to change and introduce unbiased ‘independent’ thinking, or we, our children and future generations will pay a terrible price for our innovative neglect.
Dr David Hill
World Innovation FoundationAuthor : Letters to the EurActiv editor