Rathbones Review Winter 2017
It is well known that Britain led the Industrial Revolution. Less appreciated is the fact that it was also at the vanguard of what has been called the “de-industrial revolution”.
Beginning in earnest in the 1970s, when the “overmanning” of industry was first touted as a major contributor to the country’s economic woes, the decline of manufacturing was more dramatic here than in any other developed nation.
Historian Paul Kennedy — a professor at Yale, but once a child who revelled in the spectacle of ships being built and launched on his native Tyneside — memorably lamented the loss of “a deep satisfaction about making things”. Yet there are signs that this satisfaction is returning. Today, as we explain in our lead article, shifting global economics and the renewed desirability of the “Made in Britain” brand are driving a reawakening in manufacturing — not least in textiles, the sector that powered Britain to industrial pre-eminence in the first place.
A regional renaissance is taking place as well. The potential value of greater economic diversification is becoming ever more apparent in the era of Brexit, strengthening the case for investment in areas that may have been comparatively overlooked in the recent past. We explore the example of the Midlands Engine, an initiative encompassing cities such as Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.
As ever, we cover a wide variety of topics. From looking into the appeal of multi-generational living, discussing the issue of security in the age of “big data”, to the curious relationship between the bumblebee and the global economy and whether Africa is on track to a brighter future in light of significant investment in new infrastructure.
We hope you enjoy this winter edition of Rathbones Review — and please remember that we always welcome your feedback.