Time for a new economy based on knowledge; not risk?
Commentators have been debating for some time now whether our capitalist system has failed. Whilst it would be foolish to suggest we need to have a total overhaul of how UK PLC operates, it’s fair to say that elements of it need to be repaired.
Our financial system and the structure and check-points we put in place to protect us from meltdown, spectacularly failed leaving us with a legacy of economic constraints.
There are currently 2.56 million unemployed across the UK[HA1] according to the Office of National Statistics. We have almost 20% youth unemployment with almost a 1/3 of those being out of work for over 12 month, crippling fiscal constraints brought about by £48bn in spending cuts and tax increases and a public sector deficient totalling £1,186 trillion[HA2] (Office of National Statistics) – all of which will be the burden of generations to come.
So out of these ashes, we must ensure that a new economy prevails; an economy that supports innovation, is open, flexible and creates a hub of knowledge serving as a public good. A new economy that will reshape the way we work, live and consume.
Much like with the Industrial Revolution, British innovation and invention needs to take the lead.
The Olympic and Paralympic games coupled with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012 and our continuing success in the arts, have demonstrated to the world what Britain is capable of creating; pushing Britain to the top of the global ‘soft power’ ranking to become the most influential nation in the world[HA3] (Monode Magazine).
But change is nothing new to Britain.
In the 80’s we moved from a manufacturing nation to a service-led one in spite of mass demonstration and civil unrest. We now need to take a step forward and endeavour to do what we do best – the creation of ideas, knowledge and commerce.
Yet, for this to foster we must adapt a new model!
The old model was designed to make people rich but communities and industry poor. Over the past two years the number of net millionaires in the UK has grown by almost 8%[EA4] , bringing the total up to 306,655 households, whilst at the same time the number of company liquidations last year stood at 16,138 (over 44 per day) and the number of individual insolvencies orders was 109,477 (300 per day[HA5] ).
The most successful economies will be the ones willing to take the risks. But, over the last 20 years our interpretation of risk was to gamble the nation’s wealth on the stock market; now we need to take a risk on us and the things we create…and it seems that UK PLC is up for the challenge as the number of patent applications granted in the UK increased by 29 per cent last year to almost 3,000 – the largest increase for a decade[HA6] – whilst the number of patents submitted to the European Patent Office rose by 4.4% to 6,763[EA7] .
This transfer to a more ‘knowledge based economy’ will however ironically need investment from the very institutions that put us here in the first place – so for us to move on, so must the banks!
This is the road map for a New Britain and a New Economy – but unless we embrace a network of knowledge sharing we run the risk of stagnating for decades to come.