George Cox: What Britain needs to compete in a changed world

From a speech by the director general of the Institute of Directors at its annual conference in the Royal Albert Hall
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The Independent Online

The next two decades will see tremendous economic growth: much of it from the four potentially huge economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, where growth will outstrip the G7 economies combined .

The next two decades will see tremendous economic growth: much of it from the four potentially huge economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, where growth will outstrip the G7 economies combined .

The rising wealth of these nations, along with that of smaller nations with hitherto under-developed economies, will provide new markets and increase world trade. This provides enormous opportunity, but fuels intense competition. Highly developed, industrialised economies such as those of Western Europe have always recognised that low-skilled, labour-intense jobs would move elsewhere. What can now be seen is that it isn't just low added-value industries that are under threat. Brazil has become a major player in the aerospace industry; India has developed a huge and enormously capable software industry; China has demonstrated its scientific and engineering capability by putting a man in space.

What does it take for a company, or a nation, to succeed in such a world? The UK's future has to lie in high value-added products and services, competing on innovation, design, flair, quality and speed to market. This needs many things: the right economic environment, a skilled and flexible workforce, an education system that equips people for real needs and opportunities, a regulatory environment which protects the individual but doesn't stifle enterprise; and much more of an enterprise culture in our businesses and society. It needs all of these things. A deficiency in one impairs competitive position, regardless of the strength of others.

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