It is clear that this country faces an enormous challenge. The current policies seem to involve tinkering with some infrastructure projects and waiting for the private sector to pull us all through. There are big problems with this kind of ‘traditional thinking’. For many, there is no confidence in the future and they may avoid expansion.
Other, successful countries, appear to have far more ‘pro-active’ strategies – they make long term investment commmitments to the new industries such as the scientific, the green, the creative, the new media and knowledge industries. The positive aspect here is that we have very good resources in all of these.
A good plan would be to target the young. On line programmes that encourage innovation, creativity and business skills could be freely available at schools and colleges. Each local centre would need access to resources and coaching as well as help from mentors from the local community. What could help are cottage industries that keep us actively engaged in enterprises that will save the country money (i.e. by avoiding imports and the consumption of expensive and unsustainable goods and services) and make money by selling products and services abroad. We need to develop our co-operative projects and explore ideas about the sharing and making better use of resources. Greater working from home could reduce transport costs and can free up office space for conversion to housing.
We have some of the best universities in the world, a strong international reputation for education and a command of one of the world’s main lingua franca. If we cannot entertain huge numbers of foreign students here then we need to get serious about on line delivery systems.
It is to be hoped that traditional political, social and economic prejudices do not prevent this assembly of the kind of people who can develop a radical and prophetic vision and who could set these things in motion. Our country needs them.