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The UK does have some remaining light and heavy industry, and farming is significant too. I don't think the UK exports much in the way of food in bulk - it's mostly twee jams and various polite kinds of tea.

Even so it's not quite true that the City was the entire economy - just most of it.

What bothers me more is something I've mentioned before. The current situation is analogous to the end of industrialisation in the 70s in the UK. Semi-nationalised industries were being pumped full of public money then too, but all of them failed - partly through overly aggressive unionisation, but also because of incredibly inept and confrontational management.

So Thatcher appeared from whatever hell dimension she was spawned in and implemented financialisation, which happened so quickly and so comprehensively it was obviously ready and waiting for a nod.

This time there's no obvious plan in Whitehall. Nationalisation will be the first stage, but it's unlikely to be any more successful in the long term than it was in the 70s - because no matter what Gordo and Darling believe, running a financial economy rather than a productive economy is seriously fucking stupid.

So what's the alternative? Green energy seems like an obvious choice, but there's no more than 5-10 years of that at most, and once all of the windmills that can be built have been built the rest is repairs and renewals.

At that point the two choices become a steady state economy, with no more delusions of growth until the next technological revolution (biotech? space? good luck selling those here...), or outright violent revolution because there's nowhere else to go, economically or politically.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 at 06:23:47 PM EST
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