The important question to ask about an industrial policy

But the result has been to leave Britain as the only major economy without an industrial strategy, the only G8 country without a national investment strategy, and pretty much the only advanced country without a serious regional development policy. Britain is virtually the only big country in the world that thinks it can grow industry without having an actual strategy to do it.

So we stand alone, again, do we?

Good. Now, please check our economic performance against those of other countries. Are we growing more slowly over time? No, the last three years is not an adequate timescale: try a couple of decades at least. Has our manufacturing sector shrunk more or less than that of other countries?

Given that it hasn\’t shrunk that is.

This is the important question. Not whether everyone else has a strategy but does having a strategy make any difference?

To provide good new jobs? His speech did not so much as mention the words, yet jobs should surely be front and centre in any such plan.

Jobs are a cost, not a benefit, you ignorant tosspots (actually, tosspot, as it is Aditya Chakrabortty who writes The Guardian\’s economic editorials).

5 thoughts on “The important question to ask about an industrial policy”

  1. I must admit I wasn’t aware that the US had an industrial strategy. And a quick Google doesn’t seem to be of much help in locating it.

    And surely the UK does have an industrial strategy, depending on how you define such things.

    Summed up as “Low corporate taxes, low interest rates, open to business, as much deregulation as we can get away with, a just about acceptable infrastructure and a well educated workforce and the rest is up to you.”

    Now this is almost certainly not what Mr Chakrabortty would have as his ideal industrial strategy but it is a strategy.

  2. Georgesdelatour: yes, that’s the point. Economics is two-sided, what is a benefit to someone typically is a cost to someone else. What we want is that those policies for which the value of the benefits is larger than the value of the costs are implemented. Pretending that something has only benefits is lying.

    Onto Tim’s post: in Italy there is currently a large debate about the lack of any national or regional industrial strategy. Italy is a G8 country, ergo the UK is not the only G8 country without an industrial strategy.

  3. The UK is the only G8 country where the deluded political class, which thinks it can plan everything, doesn’t allow them to try it and fuck everything up.


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