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The decline of manufacturing industry had been associated with the decline of the company town. In contrast, service companies have always tended to be fragmented. And yet there is one service industry which is conducted in large plants, in which people travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to consume the product, and which has been conducted in company towns not just for decades, but centuries.
As politicians vie with each other to express their love of manufacturing industry, John pulls together thoughts developed over three decades on what he has come to call the 'manufacturing fetish'.
Many visions of Europe are driven by rivalry the United States of America. In this article I describe one which welcomes European integration, sees a European identity as a complement to national identity, not a substitute for it, and does not equate ‘ever closer union’ with additional powers for supra-national institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg.
Britain has a trade surplus in almost every service sector except tourism. As a result, world trade negotiations have not played to British strengths because advanced economies tend to trade freely in manufactures but retain home-country bias in their purchases of services. This should frame any debate on trade in the EU referendum.
We once suffered from Norman Angell’s “Great Illusion” that prosperity was the product of aggressive control of territory and resources — and now we know better. The wealth of Denmark is instead built on exporting bacon and drugs to control diabetes — an appropriate combination — around the world.
More than twenty years have passed since the creation of the single European market and the Schengen common travel area. And yet while much appears to have changed, more has remained the same.
The correlation between a temperate climate and economic prosperity is clear and striking. What are the causes?
The most important source of economic advance comes not from doing the same things better, but from achieving the same objective in a completely different way.
The dispersion of productivity among already rich countries has increased. Norway and Switzerland have surged ahead but laggards such as Italy – and indeed Britain – have struggled to keep up with the pack.