Thursday, 17 November 2011

Are we still chasing the fantasy of the knowledge economy?

If you read one piece in the papers this morning I would recommend Aditya Chakrabortty excellent piece in the Guardian on Why Britain doesn't make things any more?

Essentially the author argues that the idea that Britain over the last forty years could replace its manufacturing and engineering industry with a service sector which will create jobs and wealth has been a pipe dream that has landed us exactly where we are today with 2.6m out of work and many more on sickness benefit

Here are some of the highlights

How did we get here?

One, the old days of heavy industry are gone for good. The future lies in working with our brains, not our hands. Two, the job of government in economic policy is simply to get out of the way. Oh, and finally, we need to fling open our markets to trade with other countries because, despite the evidence of countless Wimbledons and World Cups, the Westminster elite believe that the British can always take on the competition and win.

What was sold as economic modernisation has led to industrial decay, with too often nothing to replace it.

Once the British had sold cars and ships to the rest of the world; now they could flog culture and tourism and Lara Croft.

The real charge against Blair and Brown is that, rather than focus on this problem of underpeforming managers and shareholders, they chased the fantasy of the knowledge economy

If you want to understand why we got to where we are-please read

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