Will Hutton’s latest mind fart

Britain is not as good at making things as it could and should be. Nor is it very good, despite the hype, at financial services. Its widely trumpeted “success” is built on turning a blind eye to quasi-criminality in investment banking and to systemic fleecing of ignorant customers in the asset management industry through an opaque and self-serving fee structure.

But Britain does have one trump card. It is the location capital of the world. Britain is the European or world headquarters of 469 global companies, according to the EY Inward Investment Monitor. No other European country comes close: Germany is home to 86 global companies, Switzerland 84 and France 77. The resulting dense concentration of high-end business decision-making spawns whole industries to service it. These include IT, law, accounting, insurance, lawful banking, design and advertising. It represents the unspoken and dynamic core of the British economy worth many millions of jobs.

So, err, given that IT, law, accounting, insurance, banking, are in fact financial services then we’re pretty good at them then, aren’t we?

8 comments on “Will Hutton’s latest mind fart

  1. Accounting, insurance and banking, I’ll give you.

    IT, law and even advertising are important to financial services (and I agree with your oft made contention that one of the reasons we are so important for financial services is our legal system) but they are aren’t “financial services”, as such or, even “in fact”?

  2. The Heathrow thing is massively overblown in there. It might be a factor, but people set up in the UK rather than France because of the unemployment laws more than international travel.

  3. “It represents the unspoken …”: the very fact that Hutton is discussing it means that it can’t be “unspoken” – he’s far too dim to notice things for himself.

  4. What is “lawful banking” ?

    Banking of the sort approved of by Willy (and Jezza, and the LHTD.) But not any other sort of banking. Especially stuff that clearly complies with neo-liberal “laws”.

  5. I’ve always thought the UK’s investment banking was rather good. It’s the high street banking verges on criminality.

  6. “What is “lawful banking” ?

    “Banking of the sort approved of by Willy (and Jezza, and the LHTD.)”

    And demonstrated by Paul Flowers.

  7. “Britain is not as good at making things as it could and should be.”

    The UK is the 8th largest in the world by manufacturing output and contributes 54% of the value of our exports. We’re not that bad at manufacturing!

    The Grauniad is just pissed off because we don’t have factories full of striking workers (not) making Austin Allegros or cheerful miners dying down coalmines any more.

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