The economic might of Britain’s regions

by Jörgen Eriksson on July 6, 2014

The economic phenomenon known as the Industrial Revolution is one of two fundamental transformations of the economic system in human civilization. The other was the introduction of agriculture and the following migration from the old hunter-gatherer society to our ancestors living in more permanent settlements.

600px-Hotel_Russell_on_Russell_Square,_London_-_April_2007Industrialization first took shape in the late 18th century in Western Europe, particularly in Britain. During the first decades of the 19th century, its features quickly spread to France, Germany, Belgium, and the United States. In the first years of the 20th century, it spread to places outside of Europe and North America, particularly to Japan. By the end of the 20th century, industrialization or its effects had reached almost every corner of the globe.

Industrialization had sweeping consequences. It not only radically changed work life, it also changed family life and personal leisure. In some ways, it redefined the purposes for having children. It certainly increased the potential power of the state, particularly when applied to military production. The process even altered societies not directly involved in industrialization. Industrial economies gained new advantages over societies that continued to rely on agriculture, an imbalance that still affects world economic relations.

At present, we are at a new juncture where our economies are transforming through globalisation into a new reality of innovation driven regional growth systems. Globalisation is brining hyper competition to most markets and forces cities and regions to take charge, no matter our respective nationalities bringing us in as citizens in the glocal village.

On Saturday, the Telegraph newspaper published an article by Michael Heseltine, UK Government growth adviser and a former deputy prime minister, where he made a strong argument for unleashing the economic might of Britain’s regions. The article inspired me to write this brief blog post.

According to Heseltine, the UK Governments new growth strategy aim to restore to the economic powerhouses of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and their neighbouring communities the initiative and entrepreneurship that made them.

imageHeseltine says “Economic growth is not something set out as pay and rations in tiny packages or neatly designed formulae from departments in Whitehall. It is the product of countless men and women inventing, performing, driving, creating, imagining, seizing. We need to rekindle the flames of that adventurism. The government can use existing money better and attract the resources that are awash in the corporate sector and institutions.”

It is both refreshing and encouraging that the UK Government are aligning with the Horizon Strategy 2020 of the European Union and recognize that economic strength needs to be built back from the regional and city levels, and that they are looking back to the strengths that turned United Kingdom in a blink of history from an agricultural economy into an empire unprecedented in scale and power. As Heseltine writes, “They want to rekindle that extraordinary energy and talent, inventiveness and determination of the men and women of these British Isles that made it happen.”

About Jörgen Eriksson :

Jörgen Eriksson is the founder of Bearing and is the Chairman of the firm since it was created. He has successfully expanded Bearing into covering projects on four continents. He is also Adjunct Professor of Innovation Management at the International University of Monaco and at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona and he is an active member of the Founders Alliance organisation.

Working with consulting engagements across Bearings practices, he has over the past fifteen years participated in and supervised a large number of client projects, from innovation system development and place development and branding, to merger and acquisition assignments and leading edge research and business development activities for key clients.

His new book, Branding for Hooligans, will be published in 2015. It is about how innovation and branding are key survival factors in our modern times of hyper competitive markets.

Prior to Bearing, he was Director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Trema Treasury Management, a technology and consulting services provider, supplying financial software solutions for the global financial industry, Clients included The European Central Bank, Citibank, SEB, South African reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as well as many other large financial institutions and Fortune 500 companies.

Early in his career Eriksson was educated at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he studied economics, financial economics and philosophy. He then worked in Scandinavian investment banks and also for the Swedish Institute of National Defense Research.

You can contact Jörgen on e-mail, connect on LinkedIn onörgen-eriksson/0/38/8a0/ and follow him on twitter on joreri508.

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