Tuesday, July 05, 2011

TWO NATIONS*


Last night I watched the BBC/Open University program Made in Britain presented by Evan Davis.
We were smugly told that Britain's move into high value production and service industries was the only way to go.

I immediately thought of the passage in Philip Kerr's Field Grey.

'I don't like the criminals who break the law,' I said.
'What other kind are there?'
'The kind that make the law. It's the Hindenburgs and the Schleichers of this world who are doing more to screw the Republic than the commies or the Nazis put together.'

A smiling, almost smirking at times, Evan Davis suggested a future for the country based on building fighter aircraft for countries that could well use them against us, constructing and selling McLaren MP4-12C cars at £167,000 a throw, designing hotels with helipads in Dubai, selling £25,000,000 plus houses in London to super rich Russian oligarchs, financial services, and selling intellectual property rights.

If you are not an estate agent to the super rich, or an automotive engineer, you can always get a job in a call centre, a fast food outlet, or as a servant.
But if you want to study to be a doctor there might not be a place for you because the University has sold it to the highest bidder from abroad.
We have become in Evan's words "a host nation". An interesting choice of words.

A host: a person or animal on or in which a parasite or commensal organism lives.

*With apologies to Benjamin Disraeli. [Photos-Harrods and somewhere near Wandsworth]

4 Comments:

Blogger Maxine said...

Interesting - when I moved to Kingston in 1990 there was a thriving British Aerospace factory and associated local industries and people. Now it has gone, everyone sacked, it's a housing estate (upmarket of course, half a million for a shoebox). I wonder what happened to all that expertise, in light of your post?

Pretty depressing, modern economics and society.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Maxine, they are probably working in a call centre or emigrated to Australia.
There were once British firms that made dental equipment and implements such as forceps. Gradually they closed and in the late 1990s all you could buy was German, Austrian, Italian, Japanese, and American.
The argument that low wage economies took away our industry does not apply in every case. It was lack of government support, poor management, and bad labour relations.
I left Kingston in 1987, just before house prices in the area exploded upwards. Another of my many blunders. ;o)

9:53 AM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Well, over here there is a "jobless recovery." Profits are up, for many corporations, they're higher than ever.

General Electric last year made record profits -- and paid NO taxes.

Meanwhile 15 million are still unemployed. Companies are purchasing high-tech automated equipment and not hiring. Not only youth, but middle-aged people can't find jobs.

And millions are involuntarily working part-time or temporary jobs.

And, as been pointed out, many who lost jobs that they were educated to do with decent salaries, are now forced to get the kind of jobs you mention, low-wage jobs with no benefits.

Yet Wall Street executives are rolling in bonuses, corporations are raking it in.

Public sector workers are facing wage, health and pension cutbacks.

And I see now that all most politicians in D.C. are not putting medical care on the chopping block.

Back to reading, the best distraction.

And it is most appropriate to call this about the States: A Tale of Two Countries.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Correction in my post: I meant to type that almost all politicians in D.C. are putting medical care for poor people on the budget chopping block.

But then this is not dissimilar to what's happening in Britain.

12:57 AM  

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