Invisible = Non Existent

Posted on: 27/01/2012

In modern economies very few people seem to want to do anything themselves.

That explains why construction, engineering and manufacturing are so far down the scorecard when it comes to the rankings of preferred employment.

The UK has had this problem for many years. Those of us who are quite old will remember the era when "Invisible Exports" were invented. It was exactly the same time when the then UK Government realised that "visible" exports would never again exceed imports.

So unless the Government wanted to report a massive balance of payments deficit every month, "invisible" exports were necessary to at least partially redress the balance.

There are no doubt many financial services exports that don't involve anyone getting oil under their nails. No doubt, also, some allowance should be made for such "invisibles" when comparisons between imports and exports are being made.

However, it is quite easy to see that recognising invisibles was the start of the slippery slope that has lead steadily downwards to where we stand (shakily) today.

It has been far too convenient to write off, for example, low-ticket manufacturing. The standard message from Governments of all flavours has been "We cannot do low-ticket manufacturing in the UK, but we can make up for that by our high-ticket/high-tech manufacturing and, of course, through our "invisible" exports".

This mirage has now evaporated (or whatever mirages do).

The UK has largely run out of high-ticket manufacturing niches. Equally, our invisibles have, because of the World financial crisis, reduced dramatically.

We need to do more for ourselves and that includes low-ticket manufacturing. It is neither economically viable or "Green" to import from all around the planet when we have the resources, including the work-force, to make most things ourselves.

Time to think small and local. If we do, we might eventually be able to stand tall again, proud of ourselves at every level. It is a long, hard road back but it is a visible - and viable - track.

We Brits tend to be good at apologising, which can be a great quality. But apologising for the poor economic performance of our country is not enough. We must do something about it.


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