03 January 2012

Development: People or Places?

The Guardian's economics leader writer (with a.... history qualification?) has a long rant about the de-industrialisation of Britain, claiming that the government has written off an entire region. Here's the thing - I sadly don't have time to reference all of this but;

1 - Globalisation is not a government policy - it is a thing that is happening.
2 - Government-led area-based regeneration generally doesn't work
3 - So - government policy should be, and largely is, about supporting individuals wherever they live. The best that we can do to respond to the shift in jobs from the North-East to the South-East, is ensure that wherever they are born, kids get a great education giving them an equal opportunity to compete, and making it easy to move to where jobs are (allowing more house-building in the South-East would help with this).

So - support people not places - and let people move. Or social protection and migration. Works in Britain. Sound anything like a recipe for global development?

Addendum: Here's the thing about Thatcher - when she said "let Liverpool decline," she probably basically had the economics about right, as with weakening the unions, and as the Nigerian government with fuel subsidies today. Just don't be such a **** about it yeah?

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