London, UK – ‘Why the West Is Failing’, authored by one of the UK’s leading businessmen, argues the West is falling behind the East because of a stunted manufacturing sector. The only way to achieve the growth we desperately need to improve the lives of ordinary Britons today and lead them into a better future is to unleash the UK's manufacturing and economic potential.
John Mills, economist, businessman, and founder of The John Mills Institute for Prosperity releases a new book on the 26th of August which offers a roadmap to a more prosperous Britain.
In Why the West Is Failing, John Mills outlines how the economy is in dire shape and if we don’t get the UK economy growing at a much higher rate, living standards will continue to fall, and the country will become increasingly unequal.
The arguments Mills puts forward and his vision for Britain’s future is very close to The Institute for Prosperity’s own mission. We are committed to pushing for a manufacturing, investment and export-led industrial strategy that promotes growth and supports those parts of the country which have been left behind. Why the West Is Failing provides a clear-eyed and convincing case for exactly why and how this needs to be done.
The key to a growing economy, Mills argues, is to revive our manufacturing industry. His view is that bringing the proportion of GDP made up by manufacturing up to 15% – around a 50% increase – would solve many of our growth problems. The only way to do this is to transition to a lower, more competitive exchange rate and make investments in UK manufacturing profitable again.
The book has already received praise from important voices in the public conversation about the country’s economic policy, including Larry Elliott, Economics Editor at The Guardian and former Cabinet minister Caroline Flint.
Mill’s ideas could not be timelier: Britain desperately needs new ideas if it is to stave off the looming economic catastrophe. The country is still recovering from the pandemic – a process that has been cumbersome and sluggish. It cannot afford to suffer another blow right now. We must have a plan for the future: it must recognise the systemic problems with the British economy and propose real ideas to solve them.
Right now, the economy is shockingly unbalanced, a problem we have highlighted since The Institute for Prosperity’s formation. We have deindustrialised at a rate incomparable to any other nation and focused all our attention on services, particularly in the southeast. This has driven increasing levels of inequality, both within social classes and across different regions. If we want to create a better, fairer, more prosperous nation whose economy is healthier and more robust and which can compete with the rest of the world, we must fix this.
As 70% of the costs incurred in manufacturing are charged out in the domestic currency, having a high exchange rate makes our manufacturing industry wildly unprofitable. Mills says that lowering the exchange rate, bringing it into about parity with the dollar, will make our manufactured goods cheaper and much more competitive and profitable in world markets.
By changing policy to encourage much more investment in industry, manufacturing and technology, Mills argues we can re-energise Britain’s economy and deliver economic growth we have come to assume is impossible. This is the only way to maintain and improve standards of living, especially in Britain’s former manufacturing heartlands and coastal towns.