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My Recent Business Trip To China


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Personally I can live with Britains muddled governance or its lack of ruthless business efficiency as these have long been a feature of our national life. What I find depressing is the way our innovative capacity and our skill at improvisation have been eroded by a culture of top down process driven micro managed mediocrity imposed from the top. It is this stifling crushing of the human spirit at every level which makes the UK such a bummer to live in at the moment.

Yes I know what you mean. The CEO's of big company's are only interested in earning their million pound bonuses and make all manages and workers below them dumb policy followers.

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Interesting post but way too pessimistic

Actually outlook for UK is quite positive. You are right to identify that UK cannot and will not catchup with china in mass manufacturing but we have a number of key strengths that other European countries do not. We are especially strong in business and financial services which is much wider than just banking - think asset management, insurance, accounting, legal services, tax services, architecture, strategy consulting, m&a advisory, project finance, film finance, currency exchange etc etc - we are leading players in all of the above. Also we are very strong in the creative industries - film, TV, advertising, branding, marketing, PR, publishing, design, fashion, computer games, etc and finally we have some huge strengths in engineering - think Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, BAe systems, UK Space industry, F1, jaguar land rover , ARM, Autonomy etc I also think we have potential strength in Education but probably don't exploit it enough - think of the global brand power of Oxbridge, Eton, Harrow etc.

These high end services and industries are exactly the type for which there will be increasingly in demand as the world economy gets more global and richer and where we can maintain sustainable advantage that's not just based on cost. Making cheap shoes or coal mining or basic shipbuilding will always go to where labor is cheapest so we would be mad to try and compete in those industries.

The main problem is that these industries can usefully employ about 15% of the population and only need highly educated, numerate people - mass education in this country is an incredibly low standard covered up by decades of grade inflation. In my view that's the biggest problem we need to fix as a nation.

Sure - the question is whether this small productive group will be enough (and also whether they will be willing) to fund the welfare state and support a few millions of not very producitve people.

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Hah hah. Try getting ill in china, you know, too sick to work. Check out the marvelous social security system that will stop you starving to death (or not….).

Then, once you have done that, try getting old and retiring in China. See how the bountiful state keeps you healthy by ensuring you do not put on weight.

Your post is a joke. Not sure if you realise how nasty the average person’s life is in china but if you think you understand the place you are sorely mistaken.

Then try getting ill in UK where the cause of the illness is not obvious. Your GP will tell you to come back in a week (if you are still alive). An ultrasound

at NHS investigation takes weeks to arrange while in China (or Singapore), I can just walk into one and hand over £100 and it will be done (a private scan in

UK will cost £300).

NHS backend is still reasonable good, but that is if you can get over the gatekeepers...

An average British certainly life better than an average Chinese but with ZIRP and QE and chinese 10%+ growth rate, things may well change in a decade or so.

Even that, I am inclined to belief that an average person in Shanghai or Beijing live better than an average British person.

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Hah hah. Try getting ill in china, you know, too sick to work. Check out the marvelous social security system that will stop you starving to death (or not….).

Then, once you have done that, try getting old and retiring in China. See how the bountiful state keeps you healthy by ensuring you do not put on weight.

Your post is a joke. Not sure if you realise how nasty the average person’s life is in china but if you think you understand the place you are sorely mistaken.

What happened to the injured/sick/old in the British industrial revolution?

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Interesting post but way too pessimistic

Actually outlook for UK is quite positive. You are right to identify that UK cannot and will not catchup with china in mass manufacturing but we have a number of key strengths that other European countries do not. We are especially strong in business and financial services which is much wider than just banking - think asset management, insurance, accounting, legal services, tax services, architecture, strategy consulting, m&a advisory, project finance, film finance, currency exchange etc etc - we are leading players in all of the above. Also we are very strong in the creative industries - film, TV, advertising, branding, marketing, PR, publishing, design, fashion, computer games, etc and finally we have some huge strengths in engineering - think Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, BAe systems, UK Space industry, F1, jaguar land rover , ARM, Autonomy etc I also think we have potential strength in Education but probably don't exploit it enough - think of the global brand power of Oxbridge, Eton, Harrow etc.

These high end services and industries are exactly the type for which there will be increasingly in demand as the world economy gets more global and richer and where we can maintain sustainable advantage that's not just based on cost. Making cheap shoes or coal mining or basic shipbuilding will always go to where labor is cheapest so we would be mad to try and compete in those industries.

The main problem is that these industries can usefully employ about 15% of the population and only need highly educated, numerate people - mass education in this country is an incredibly low standard covered up by decades of grade inflation. In my view that's the biggest problem we need to fix as a nation.

According to the analysis in Larry Elliots book Fantasy Island the contribution from Britains creative industries to the economy has been in relentless decline since the 1980s. This was a trend that accelerated under New Labour who were obsessed with denying the very existence of a British cultural identity thus throwing away the one unique feature of the country that could not be copied. Worth noting that the last time Britain was the centre of global music and fashion innovation was the 1960s when surprisingly we still had lots of factories churning out shoes, mines producing coal and plenty of basic metal bashing engineering. The idea that high end economic activity like finance,law, culture and media can drive an economy in isolation from more humble productive work is one of the great delusions of our age.

Innovation needs a bedrock of basic skills and industries on which to build. A classic example is the design and production of the Mosquito fighter bomber in World War 2 , one of the greatest aircraft this country ever produced. Its lightweight wooden super structure around a metal frame was in many ways revolutionary but the plane could only be produced because the UK had lot of skilled wood workers engaged in humble furniture manufacturing that could be diverted to war work. Without that rather unspectacular industry underpinning the process the machine would have stayed on the drawing board.

Edited by stormymonday_2011
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The idea that high end economic activity like finance,law, culture and media can drive an economy in isolation from more humble productive work is one of the great delusions of our age.

+1- it's also a basically racist notion that we can or do have monopoly on something as inherently universal as 'creativity' or innovation.

The fact is that these 'industries' consist mostly of manipulating data of various sorts on screens- and as such lend themselves well to outsourcing and offer relatively low barriers to entry for foreign competitors- at least at the lower end of the skills curve.

Also the homogenization effect of 'industry standard' software packages tend to again lower entry barriers to 'outsiders'- the craft guilds of the middle ages would never have been so foolish as to codify their practices and then leave that data lying around for just anyone to read- yet today anyone with the money can purchase an industry standard CAD package, for example, and in doing so gain access not only to a working tool, but to the entire collection of industry norms and working practices that have, by necessity been incorporated into the software itself.

I know, for example, that the legal profession is already feeling the hot breath of globalization on it's neck- again at the more routine end of the industry.

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I firmly believe that manufacturing is fundamental to a successful economy, but how many people want to stand next to a 1500 degree glass furnace 8 hours a day or work 6 days a week 12 hours per day making your mobile phone - the Chinese do, what can we do about this?

Robots

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+1- it's also a basically racist notion that we can or do have monopoly on something as inherently universal as 'creativity' or innovation.

The fact is that these 'industries' consist mostly of manipulating data of various sorts on screens- and as such lend themselves well to outsourcing and offer relatively low barriers to entry for foreign competitors- at least at the lower end of the skills curve.

Also the homogenization effect of 'industry standard' software packages tend to again lower entry barriers to 'outsiders'- the craft guilds of the middle ages would never have been so foolish as to codify their practices and then leave that data lying around for just anyone to read- yet today anyone with the money can purchase an industry standard CAD package, for example, and in doing so gain access not only to a working tool, but to the entire collection of industry norms and working practices that have, by necessity been incorporated into the software itself.

I know, for example, that the legal profession is already feeling the hot breath of globalization on it's neck- again at the more routine end of the industry.

+several million

No manufacturing, no economy: fact

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"The idea that high end economic activity like finance,law, culture and media can drive an economy in isolation from more humble productive work is one of the great delusions of our age.

Innovation needs a bedrock of basic skills and industries on which to build. A classic example is the design and production of the Mosquito fighter bomber in World War 2 ,"

I respectfully but totally disagree with you. Leavesden Aerodrome produced fighters in WW II but in resent times has been used to make Harry Potter which is now the largest film franchise of all time taking $5Bn+ just at the box office. Some of this money finds its way to the UK as JK Rowling and most of the cast and crew are from the UK and much of the films production budget would have been spent here. Warner Brothers bought Leavesden studios and are investing £100m to expand it. WB recognise that making these films have created a large pool of creative, talented and experienced people that can make more great films in the future - this talent pool cannot be replicated by China or replaced by robots. This is the only example of a major studio having a base outside the US. Hopefully local universities will link up this growing industry and make sure students are being trained to fill the jobs of the future, films employ a lot of people!

Another example is HP buying Autonomy, HP is paying a high price to get hold of the world leading technology developed by Autonomy by UK scientists. Some see this as a disaster for UK plc but I don't - ownership is no longer the key, if you what some HP shares go and buy them, what ultimately matters is the location of the high-end jobs. They are not going to shut down Cambridge and move all the jobs to China. They are actually looking to expand and invest and use their global sales force to sell more of autonomies products worldwide. Also presumably there are a load of newly minted and tech-savy millionaires in Cambridge who can fund the next range of startups.

Another recent british successes is Jaguar Land rover (latest sales + 61% in India, +33 in China, +70% in russia, +49% in Germany) again its owned by Tata but I don't see why that matters as long as the high end jobs are don in the UK (which they are) Tata put massive investment into JLR and are now reaping the rewards (good for them). JLR employes loads of people to do the branding, the design, the marketing etc - these are all worthwhile productive jobs that result in growing exports to the new markets

There are plenty of ways to make a living that don't involve bashing a bit of metal or wood or standing next to a furnace

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I find that you can tell the health of a society by looking at the girls. Chinese girls are beautiful, graceful and love children; British girls are fat, tatooed and only interested in getting drunk.

One thing I find interesting is how healthy young women from the Eastern block communist nations appeared. Looking at high school class photos and family photo albums of some friends from Eastern Europe. Like well nourished, physically fit, untatooed, well educated, educated in dance and music, etc..

Its a pet theory I have that women do really well under a controlled system.

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I find that you can tell the health of a society by looking at the girls. Chinese girls are beautiful, graceful and love children; British girls are fat, tatooed and only interested in getting drunk.

...but times change, the Chinese girls are also now beginning to desire the fine things in life like expensive brand products such as handbags, face creams etc.....their diet is also changing from one of rice and veg to meat and dairy products, it won't take that long with further indoctrination that they become more like us...watch this space. ;)

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"The idea that high end economic activity like finance,law, culture and media can drive an economy in isolation from more humble productive work is one of the great delusions of our age.

Innovation needs a bedrock of basic skills and industries on which to build. A classic example is the design and production of the Mosquito fighter bomber in World War 2 ,"

I respectfully but totally disagree with you. Leavesden Aerodrome produced fighters in WW II but in resent times has been used to make Harry Potter which is now the largest film franchise of all time taking $5Bn+ just at the box office. Some of this money finds its way to the UK as JK Rowling and most of the cast and crew are from the UK and much of the films production budget would have been spent here. Warner Brothers bought Leavesden studios and are investing £100m to expand it. WB recognise that making these films have created a large pool of creative, talented and experienced people that can make more great films in the future - this talent pool cannot be replicated by China or replaced by robots. This is the only example of a major studio having a base outside the US. Hopefully local universities will link up this growing industry and make sure students are being trained to fill the jobs of the future, films employ a lot of people!

Another example is HP buying Autonomy, HP is paying a high price to get hold of the world leading technology developed by Autonomy by UK scientists. Some see this as a disaster for UK plc but I don't - ownership is no longer the key, if you what some HP shares go and buy them, what ultimately matters is the location of the high-end jobs. They are not going to shut down Cambridge and move all the jobs to China. They are actually looking to expand and invest and use their global sales force to sell more of autonomies products worldwide. Also presumably there are a load of newly minted and tech-savy millionaires in Cambridge who can fund the next range of startups.

Another recent british successes is Jaguar Land rover (latest sales + 61% in India, +33 in China, +70% in russia, +49% in Germany) again its owned by Tata but I don't see why that matters as long as the high end jobs are don in the UK (which they are) Tata put massive investment into JLR and are now reaping the rewards (good for them). JLR employes loads of people to do the branding, the design, the marketing etc - these are all worthwhile productive jobs that result in growing exports to the new markets

There are plenty of ways to make a living that don't involve bashing a bit of metal or wood or standing next to a furnace

Well if I was an Autonomy worker I would be very worried about my job being offshored once the intellectual property has been looted. After all this has been pretty much the HP game plan in every business that has been taken over (just ask any UK EDS employee how they were treated post HP buy out). In fact foreign ownership of business matters hugely in the job stakes which is why some many countries such as China, Germany, France etc make it so difficult for outsiders to take over their national champions. The British desire to build a business and then flog it to a foreigner for a quick buck so you can buy some land and become a 'proper gentleman' has long been recognised as a national failing as has our obsession with separating art from science, a fact pointed out by one of the bosses at Google only last week

http://m.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/aug/26/eric-schmidt-chairman-google-education?cat=technology&type=article

While we might be able to generate jobs through new Film production etc this is not a guaranteed source of economic wealth and the UK has seen many similar false dawns in that particular industry going back to the 1950s. US money has had a habit of cycling in and out of the UK visual media when it sees the chance of a quick profit going back to the inception of the James Bond franchises and beyond.

The truth is that you are suggesting that we can just skip the more humble economic activities while I think they are essential to a healthy economic eco system. It may be that the demise of mass steel production, ship building, etc in the UK is inevitable but the wiping out of so much SME manufacturing such a shoe making is not. Napoleon was famously mistranslated when described the British as a nation of shop keepers when what he meant was a country of small workshops. If we are going to survive we need to go back to that model.

Edited by stormymonday_2011
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Another example is HP buying Autonomy, HP is paying a high price to get hold of the world leading technology developed by Autonomy by UK scientists. Some see this as a disaster for UK plc but I don't - ownership is no longer the key, if you what some HP shares go and buy them, what ultimately matters is the location of the high-end jobs. They are not going to shut down Cambridge and move all the jobs to China. They are actually looking to expand and invest and use their global sales force to sell more of autonomies products worldwide. Also presumably there are a load of newly minted and tech-savy millionaires in Cambridge who can fund the next range of startups.

Respectuflly, in my opinion, you overrated HP management intelligence for saying that they bought autonomy out of carefully calculated move to obtain Autonomy's key talents and technologies. There is a good chance the takeover will turn into a disaster.

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Respectuflly, in my opinion, you overrated HP management intelligence for saying that they bought autonomy out of carefully calculated move to obtain Autonomy's key talents and technologies. There is a good chance the takeover will turn into a disaster.

To be honest it does not really matter whether the foreign buyout is a good business decision or not ( HP has a history of making bad take over decisions from the day it purchased Compaq). HP purchase of Autonomy may well be a disaster. The same applies to Kraft's acquisition of Cadbury's. It has not altered the result that a British business has gone and British workers have lost their jobs.

Edited by stormymonday_2011
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To be honest it does not really matter whether the foreign buyout is a good business decision or not ( HP has a history of making bad take over decisions from the day it purchased Compaq). HP purchase of Autonomy may well be a disaster. The same applies to Kraft's acquisition of Cadbury's. It has not altered the result that a British business has gone and British workers have lost their jobs.

We sold off much of what was good for us to the highest bidder because we were able and allowed to...another case of short-termism, quickeasymoney-gain........when it is gone it is gone, only a few make instant cash profits.....future long-term growth will benefit the purchasers and future investors/workers/citizens that bought at the right price then go on to expand,improve,invest and capitalise on it.

Instant gratification is the order of today. ;)

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I find that you can tell the health of a society by looking at the girls. Chinese girls are beautiful, graceful and love children; British girls are fat, tatooed and only interested in getting drunk.

Chinese women are SHOCKINGLY materialistic they are also extremely overt about it.

They will claim oh I don't care about money... at which the first question they ask on a date is... how much money you make.

fangzi, chezi, piaozi

Children? Children are merely used a bargaining chip against their husbands.

http://www.chinasmack.com/2011/stories/new-chinese-marriage-law-protects-mens-assets-angers-women.html

Have a read of that, the law had to be changed from men being taken to the cleaners. Look at the comments from women. I had your child therefore you owe me big time. China is becoming very much like HK, an absolute marriage grave yard.

They may look and act in a manner you describe but almost always are plotting behind your back. Like the ESL guys who go to China and hookup with a local girl easily.... they just want your passport and or money.....

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Chinese women are SHOCKINGLY materialistic they are also extremely overt about it.

They will claim oh I don't care about money... at which the first question they ask on a date is... how much money you make.

fangzi, chezi, piaozi

Children? Children are merely used a bargaining chip against their husbands.

http://www.chinasmac...gers-women.html

Have a read of that, the law had to be changed from men being taken to the cleaners. Look at the comments from women. I had your child therefore you owe me big time. China is becoming very much like HK, an absolute marriage grave yard.

They may look and act in a manner you describe but almost always are plotting behind your back. Like the ESL guys who go to China and hookup with a local girl easily.... they just want your passport and or money.....

I like that particular comment that sums it up IMO:

So just why are we getting married for?
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At least be consistent. You listed the Chinese leader's universities but not ours - why?

I agree we need more engineers and scientists (as one myself) in leadership positions but have a horrible feeling it's all a bit too late to make any constructive changes...

Oxford / Cambridge – doesn’t matter. Just a secured ancestral-right matriculation into a non-subject to allow them to dress up in Victorian garb at various specialist “clubs” to from a self congratulatory monks-chain to say how clever they are.

Across in the east, pragmatic and unsympathetic leaders regard this end of empire nonsense with distain, copy the good parts and slowly & surely churn out vast armies of graduates with real skills to build infrastructure and power projects to enable further development.

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the real point is the size of the markets (China and India) compared to europe and the US and the potential for growth in those markets, we either Nuke them or become those little fish that clean parasites off sharks.

Or those little birdies that clean parasites off buffalo

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this talent pool cannot be replicated by China

I just don't find this kind of claim credible- there is no reason at all to believe that creativity and innovative thinking are in short supply anywhere. It's one of the few resources that would seem on the face of it to be more or less infinite.

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I respectfully but totally disagree with you. Leavesden Aerodrome produced fighters in WW II but in resent times has been used to make Harry Potter which is now the largest film franchise of all time taking $5Bn+ just at the box office. Some of this money finds its way to the UK as JK Rowling and most of the cast and crew are from the UK and much of the films production budget would have been spent here. Warner Brothers bought Leavesden studios and are investing £100m to expand it. WB recognise that making these films have created a large pool of creative, talented and experienced people that can make more great films in the future - this talent pool cannot be replicated by China or replaced by robots. This is the only example of a major studio having a base outside the US. Hopefully local universities will link up this growing industry and make sure students are being trained to fill the jobs of the future, films employ a lot of people!

There was an interview on R4 about the impact of the Harry Potter series on the UK film industry. The technical guys on the project were really enthusiastic, said it had saved the UK film industry. And how many people did it give employment to? 200. Errr. Is that it? Yes,and they were contract jobs too. Absolutely fab!

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I just don't find this kind of claim credible- there is no reason at all to believe that creativity and innovative thinking are in short supply anywhere. It's one of the few resources that would seem on the face of it to be more or less infinite.

The only thing that China don't have currently is the engineering heritage that exists in the West, the kind of know how built up over generations that allows our engineering companies to do things effectively and turn knowledge into products. But it will come, they're bright and hardworking (but no brighter or harder working than westerners, it has to be said) and in 50 years time they'll have rivals to the likes of Boeing and Rolls-Royce, if they haven't bought them by then.

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The main problem is that these industries can usefully employ about 15% of the population and only need highly educated, numerate people - mass education in this country is an incredibly low standard covered up by decades of grade inflation. In my view that's the biggest problem we need to fix as a nation.

So, what do we do with the other 85%?

Unless you believe that via formal education you can turn anyone into a top advertising guru or a world class product designer?

You can either accept there will be an unemployable underclass who will be forever supported via benefits, or that we do actually need to have some low and semi-skilled jobs in this country that pay a living wage.

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  • 442 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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