Return to National productivity measures

Inputs – Materials & Energy

  • The UK once had the good fortune to be rich in natural resources – plentiful supplies of coal, iron ore, wool and grain, at least until better alternatives were found abroad

  • We also had an empire from which to import other basic resources like cotton and rubber

  • More recently, North Sea oil and gas were discovered which met all the UK’s energy needs and more, and the surplus helped reduce our ‘balance of payments’ deficit

  • Sadly, the UK’s natural indigenous resources have either run out, are running out or become increasingly expensive to extract/ use

  • The only abundant supply of natural resources that we are left with are our home seas, wind and rainfall

  • However, our home seas have been over-fished by us and our one-time EU partners – there’s no quick productivity gains likely there

  • And whilst our wind is being ‘farmed’ both on land and at sea, this is unsightly and often unpopular although now making a major dent in our national energy needs

  • Last, there’s usually plentiful rainfall, and there’s many other countries in the world desperately short of fresh water – some see fresh water even becoming more valuable than ‘black gold’, perhaps the cause of wars – this offers the opportunity to back-haul the UK’s surplus fresh water to those most in need using VLCCs – OBO (Oil, Bulk, Ore) carriers – after emptying their cargoes here

  • Overall, however, there doesn’t appear to be great scope to improve UK productivity levels by better use of our remaining known natural resources

  • Hence, the UK increasingly has to rely on the wits of its people, much like the Japanese have always had to do

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