Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Industry Practice – UK Manufacturing – Renaissance and Revolution: 2015+ (Part 3)

The third installment of this specific web-log was to expand upon four of the prime topics necessary to underpin an expansion of the nation's High Value Manufacturing ambition so as to provide future economic traction. At managerial, staffing, technical and societal (demand) levels, these consist of:

- Business “Nounce”
- “Can Do” Enthusiasm
- Multi-Aspect Advanced Engineering
- Technology + Arts-Crafts

These overtly simplified pillars applied to both 'Renaissance' and 'Revolution' applications across products and services.

However, this expanded description is momentarily postponed, and is to follow in Part 4.

Instead, recent events dictates that this Part 3 be intermediate general commentary, given still existent shudders about the Eurozone's future, about need for dispassionate observation about Britain's (and indeed much of the West's) very real human productivity dilemma, the reactive requirement for very socially attuned “Futurism” propaganda from government, and the need to re-emphasise the importance of continuing present heavy-handed broad fiscal and monetary policies.

The 'Mid-Way' Recovery Under Threat -

Economic indicators for the UK have and continue to point to slow but ongoing recovery, a process which itself was always set to be somewhat fluctuating given the prevailing negative external forces which continue to affect domestic affairs.

Examples such as: the decline of the € reducing repatriated income, possibility of Greek Euro-zone Exit given the 'locked-horns' reality between Syriza and the Troica, more remote possibility of “Latin Contagion” (reduced by virtue of a deflated $ and Spanish growth), and any slow-down of the US and similarly in China.

Although an austerity averse left-leaning ideology has gained mass appeal – with Neo-Marxism even gaining popularity in Britain amongst the disaffected - any substantial decrease in the effort to reduce UK structural debt (though a painful process) would see the ratings agencies and in-house investment analysts raise the country's risk profile markedly with a subsequent rise in the cost of what is wholly critical capital; the capital required to re-build Britain physically and socio-economically.

It must be recognised that for all the rhetoric of emergent 'New Marxist' ideologies amongst people and politicos. Karl Marx himself was no 'common man'. Instead a wandering intellectual from a wealthy Prussian family, who in reality lived very, very far from the squalor of 19th century factory towns he apparently represented. Instead, amongst the wealthiest merchants, bankers, intellectuals and artists of Hampstead and Highgate, North London. In cold retrospect, 'champagne socialism' at best, and at worst a self-serving action to protect and expand personal wealth under any communist / socialist ideology and system which was emerging and prompting the 19th century poor to rise and revolt.

Then, as now, it must be understood that a usury based monetary system is not simply a capitalist phenomenon. It has been the less well recognised yet predominant basis for many socialist and even communism regimes, typically operating at the state industry level. Whichever the 'ism', the basic methodology of a risk-assessed lending is “priced” in addition to expectant inflationary / deflationary effects caused by supply-demand dynamics. Thus aside from the 'greater shared risk' between lender and borrower of Sharia finance approaches (which itself has pros and cons), ultimately the cost of lending capital is the foremost fundamental economic reality.

To this end, the promotion to the masses of any truly alternative socio-economic ideology, then as now, is no more than false promise, and ostensibly denies the individual (and so a nation's peoples en mass) the right to economic input and reward.

Today, across portions of the 'real world' – a place wherein the average person has little time to ponder ideology - the main threat to future economic stability is the combination of slow economic growth versus high national debt levels. Such economic tardiness now destabilised yet further by the introduction of problem inducing popular politics.

Importantly, investment-auto-motives poses the question as to whether the supposed 'independence' offered by the leaders of the Syriza party will in fact be historically viewed as the first step towards Sarkozy's long held idea of a 'Club Med' economic bloc; to include all countries with a Mediterranean coastline.

This would not only break the long cherished Eurozone project, but even if seemingly successful - after having been presented as for the gain of mankind uniting Christians, Jews and Muslims - the likelihood is that latterly after any inevitable substantial economic shock, even with the apparent economic entwinement, blame will be asserted. Thereafter, Judeo-Christian vs Muslim ranks respectively closed and truly physical historic warfare re-asserted. Critically, not the kind of largely media driven psychological cyber-war seen by 'the war on terrorism', but a fully fledged pan European and pan African war.

To this end, investment-auto-motives suggests that Syriza not be easily led and tempted by any interceding others offering new 'promised lands', and instead agree a realistic solution within the Euro-zone.

Instead of the overly simplified radical solutions, the sensible Mid-Way economic path necessarily requiring Stoicism should be maintained by all.

The left-leaning Keynesian QE programmes boosting investor and business confidence have been seen to take effect in the USA and UK, with trickle-through shown in reduced unemployment. Equally, right-leaning focus must continue to be applied to over-burdensome debt levels, which themselves rob the socio-economic gains of future growth; such monies used to pay heavy debts instead of being directed toward people's income and spending.

Hence, 'leftist' inspired QE and 'rightist' approved austerity means that Britain (and elsewhere) continues along the sensible mid-path of a mixed-market economy, even if macro circumstances dictate that it cannot be as subtly managed as experienced in the past, and that happy endings come later rather than sooner.

Need for a “Futurist” UK National Mindset -

Yet for a full eventual rebound, the very body of the UK itself – business, politics and the mass populace - must engender a broad progressive mentality which promotes a future-forward stance.

Though subtle 'perceptional attunement' has long been played-out through the mass media channels, there is need for 'expectational re-attunement' of the masses through very much more more obvious, and less “snide” (to paraphrase Russell Brand) 'Public Information' coverage.

[NB Many of the younger generation are very informed and aware (“street-wise”) when it comes to what was once seen as subtle perceptional re-alignment. For example, the BBC TV soap-opera EastEnders used the word 'nuclear' used in a pejorative sense after the Japanese reactor in “he went nuclear on me”, and the now reduced anti-Islam tone of mass-media, seen more recently in EastEnders by the introduction of head-scarfed Muslim characters; so as to try and draw back-in very much alienated British Muslims].

However, in such an age of authoritarian awareness, the construction of any socially positive propaganda, will be rife with complexity, with today even the 'social currency' of the once powerful retro-inspired “Keep Calm and Carry On” arguably depleted given its trivialised uses.

Nonetheless, the 'art of the possible' should be explored within the bounds of today's zeitgeist. .

The prime problem is that so many people of all notional classes feeling betrayed by 'greedy capitalism' and the devastating socio-economic effects of the 2008 collapse. Furthermore, this large percentage of the population as a central group excludes those who were economically marginalised long before the 2008 crash.

However, the problem is exacerbated when even those who are sensible, middle-aged and well educated themselves are abjectly alienated via the socio-economic injustice of employment denial, the fall into poverty and induced social exclusion and isolation (by design or otherwise), especially so when over a long period. It seems that for many 'life' itself simply becomes 'the struggle for empty existence', the causes and effects inevitably leading to an absolute distrust of of all things formerly trusted and ultimately society's very construct. This far more apparent than recognised by mainstream (“comfortably-off”) politicians and media.

This perception now prevailing massively amongst a disaffected, even elements of the well educated youth. But more typically, a sub-set ranging from the young-folk of ex-mining and industrial regions (often 3rd generation unemployed), to generations of the educationally deprived in increasingly ghetto-like inner-city districts (whether black, white or other). Hence the rise of youth gangs – criminal or not - for self-identity and mutual support given what they see as the falsity and remoteness of that which is typically construed as “sugar-sprinkled” Britishness.

Harsh reality for many are the economic stresses which create yet further family and group fragmentation, and so further social issues. Immediate environments deny the possibility to mentally escape, so as to think rationally and logically, instead the usual cycle of immediate gratification sought. So inevitably created the backdrop into which a new era of class based 'them and us' politics has become the norm.

The ability to create such a “futurist” national mindset then, whilst undoubtedly achievable amongst the newer, ambitious and upwardly mobile immigrant communities, will be an immensely hard task to accomplish amongst even the remaining squeezed middle-classes of the indigenous populace. Many had their once comfortable reality shattered either recently or long ago, with the younger generation born into a cynically enlightened era.

Without a 'Futurist Manifesto' -

However, without the realistic implementation of such a future-facing initiative, collectivising the hearts and minds of the populace, it seems all to likely that Britain will increasingly become a laggard nation.

Smaller portions of its educated and truly productive population are relied upon to try and prop-up large swathes of the 'forgotten', long unproductive people, whilst a “mutated middle” increasingly fends for itself.

As highlighted at Davos, signs are that ramifications of increasingly capable technology and the proclivity to out-source and “off-shore” elsewhere (regions where labour costs still sit far below UK levels) may well see portions of the conventional middle-class mutate, as lower-cost, highly productive IT continues its substitution of the administrative and formulaic tasks once undertaken by large swathes of 20th century middle-class staff, possibly even middle managers depending upon sector and skill set.

Under this scenario it is possible to see a return of a broad Luddite faction, with the machines themselves ironically protected by a swelled number of human security people, who in time would be supplanted by cheaper automated (self)defence machinery. The spiralling dystopian outcome of the common people verses the machines (which protect the wealth and power of a small sliver of human technocrats) easily recognised.

Thus, whilst this may still presently appear long-off science-fiction fantasy, without a new national UK Vision formulated and publicised, the likelihood is that such a small portion of the population in high-grade productivity (blue and white collar) could not support or would not be willing to support the 'forgotten people', whilst the much degraded middle-classes not only experience immense friction amongst themselves when seeking any available incomes, but could indeed (once again) “rage against the machine” that seemingly binds them.

Under such a scenario the UK would be forced to become a virtual Banana Republic, printing ever more money to continually deflate the Pound, to provide the internal illusion of inflationary growth so as to artificially support its people, and to hopefully provide an ever-lasting FX boost to its prime “very high value” global exports.

Though unrecognised by most, and unsurprisingly unstated by any informed long-view politicians, this outcome is a very real possibility, especially as the West ages faster than the rest of the world, and if unable to attract enough truly highly educated young immigrants.

[NB Though of course many intelligent foreign young will come to the UK for educational purposes, many may indeed see greater opportunity in returning to homeland or other EM countries to deploy their skills in productive and expanding economies. Retaining them in the UK will be key].

Herein given UK and European woes, the obvious and all to over-used case study of Japan's economic decline will be cited by many.

The prime difference being though that although with a population twice Britain's size (127m vs 62m) throughout the 1990s and 2000s Japan has been incredibly future-forward regards the applications of its robotic age in serving the physical and psychological needs of its much diminished middle-class, relying on strong familial and social ties, and because of its central unity able to avoid problematic social friction, beyond extreme margins, as its population size steadies and eventually diminishes.

To Follow -

Somewhat delayed, yet the content and tone of which is more pertinent than ever.

- Business “Nounce”
- “Can Do” Enthusiasm
- Multi-Aspect Advanced Engineering
- Technology + Arts-Crafts

These basic pillars applied in both 'Renaissance' and 'Revolutionary' applications across current and wholly new products and services.