Why Doesn't Britain Make Things Anymore?

If you're sad that the United States doesn't make things anymore, read this and you'll feel a bit better: at least we're not Britain, where they really don't make anything anymore.

Aditya Chakrabortty of The Guardian explains what's going on with what has been called Britain's De-Industrial Revolution:

In significant part, it's a tale about where Britain is going, one that's been told by Conservative and Labour alike over the past 30 years. It's a simple message that comes in three parts. One, the old days of heavy industry are gone for good. The future lies in working with our brains, not our hands. Two, the job of government in economic policy is simply to get out of the way. Oh, and finally, we need to fling open our markets to trade with other countries because, despite the evidence of countless Wimbledons and World Cups, the Westminster elite believe that the British can always take on the competition and win.

Yet there's ample evidence that the promised rewards of this post-industrial future haven't materialised. What was sold as economic modernisation has led to industrial decay, with too often nothing to replace it.

Link (Photo: Abandoned Spillers Millenium Mills, south east of London by The Urban Adventure/Flickr)

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Why? Because the previous government had a curious idea that the country could exist as a service economy. It didn't work.

Having said that Britain does still make things, but most of the large scale heavy industry has gone. What they do make tends to be small scale and very specialist, but tends to be among the very best in its field. Consider for example how many race teams are based in England. Many world championship winning motorsports teams that may appear to be from all over the world build their vehicles in England because that's where the expertise is. Just because the badge on a car suggests it's from another country, don't bet it isn't British built.
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