13 October 2008

After the financial crisis

Maybe, just maybe, it's time to pick ourselves up and get to work. The banking system has been dealt a heavy blow and will never be the same again, The Hoover Damthe British economy was already slowing down without credit availability evaporating as well.

It's possible we've turned the corner, the next few weeks should let us know one way or the other. So what are we going to do now?

It's no good thinking we can go back to business as usual. There's been a financial earthquake, the ground has shifted in unexpected ways, what we thought we knew about the landscape doesn't apply any more. The fault lines have distorted everything.

I think the best thing we can do is to take this as a great opportunity. We in the UK need fresh goals for business, we can't survive on our banking prowess because the banking industry has let us down. We need something new. But what?

For all his faults and appalling acts, Adolf Hitler did some things well. He helped Germany recover from the 1930s depression years and the hyper-inflation that had wrecked the German currency. He put the nation to work building autobahns, steelworks, armaments, power stations. The USA had the same idea, building the Hoover Dam for example. Schemes like this provided jobs for the unemployed, put spending money in their pockets, and got the economy moving again. At the same time they created infrastructure that made agriculture and industry more efficient and in many cases the infrastructure is still in use today.

The autobahns are a good example, and so is the Hoover Dam.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Britain should build armaments, but we could certainly take a tip from the famous Dam. Why not put effort into accelerating our move towards greener energy?

Green projects could get our economy moving again, providing employment at a time when it is showing signs of falling, getting money circulating in our local businesses and shops, and providing green energy for tomorrow sooner than would otherwise happen. Wind farms, the Severn Barrage, geothermal schemes, solar energy for heating and power, wave energy and a beefed up research programme would give us a boost now and put our children in better shape for tomorrow.

And there's an opportunity for export too. If we can develop some of these technologies quickly we may be able to sell hardware or licence our designs. Green industries are new industries and that is where the opportunities will be.

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