The sorry economics of the UK

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A good article by Carl Mortished in the Times this morning. This is an extract, after he notes the considerable difficulties Alastair Darling is having in finding anyone to pay the cost of running the UK's government:

Globalisation was not meant to be like this - a frantic race to the bottom where the Devil takes the hindmost. For a while, Britain seemed well-placed in a world where manufacturing was done by Asians.

The British competitive advantage was to be finance, trading and retailing - more pleasant than bashing metal, and most of the dirty manufacturing was destroyed during the Thatcher era, anyway. Why bother making mobile phones when you can earn billions just chatting on them?

But the lines went dead in the City of London. Nobody was talking, everybody was sweating and the cash was flying from London to more profitable locations in Moscow, Shanghai and Dubai.

When the cash is not flowing in your direction, where is the competitive advantage in the business of manipulating money? How do you make a living as a trader when everyone is building high walls to keep the other guy out?

This is not a world in which Britain can thrive easily.

Some of us have been saying so for a long time.

Now, shall we do something about it?