In a global economy experiencing rapid technical change there are plenty of opportunities to start new businesses, create large and growing companies, exploit skills and talents for a worldwide audience, and generate jobs. A few even manage in their teens and early twenties to become multimillionaires by being internet revolutionaries.The US has been especially good at riding this new wave.
UK sports, singing and film stars benefit from global media exposure, earning fabulous sums as they can now entertain the world, not just the UK. UK bankers, lawyers and business consultants can earn large salaries and bonuses by offering their services to a worldwide clientele. Famous brands offering everything from cosmetics to clothes, and cars to watches can command premium prices from the rich in many countries. Some of the world’s wealth rubs off on the UK economy.
This more globalised world is richer overall than the world of more entrenched nations with more enclosed economies it replaces. National governments have been losing power, as more and more countries join the global marketplace, their people seeking access to the opportunity, the products and the services that the market generates. The biggest change came with the ending of the USSR, followed by the gradual transition of China to a more capitalist model of economic development. When people demand the advantages of the global market, a government’s opportunity to control economic life and information flows is reduced.
This transformation has posed big political issues for many of the countries caught up in it. Given that the active and successful rich will get richer, as they benefit from a much larger market with many more better off people and companies to sell to, how do we take care of thsoe who cannot do that? It has also posed a big political issue about how government is conducted. Given the limitations on any individual nation, should a nation join a major continental grouping, or should it pursue its interests by Treaties entered into with the wider world community?
I wish over the next few days to explore the first of these quesitons. My answer to the second vis a vis the EU is well known and often rehearsed. I do not see why, just because we have to accept limits on the UK government’s freedom to choose placed by market influences, we should surrender even more power to a mezzanine regional government. The world market does limit what we can charge in taxes and what types of goods and services we produce, but that is no argument to give up our still considerable powers of self government.