If you were to believe the commentariat, the recent falls in the pound are a complete disaster. According to many, we are on the edge of an economic abyss. Our country is about to be plunged into financial turmoil. And, worst of all it would seem, our summer holidays abroad have become a bit more expensive...
As a UK service exporter, I feel somewhat aggrieved. Overlooked and invisible. Despite the strong and strengthening performance of service sector exports, we are often perceived as the poor relation to manufacturers. Indeed the government usually refers to the service sector as 'invisible exports', quite apt when considering where the focus of current investment is placed.
Given China's continuation of a broadly Anglo-Saxon model of economics and manufacture, instead of one derived from her own exemplary past - which in turn equates to a lost opportunity for all global consumers - the inherent 'Indianess' of Prime Minister Modi's manufacturing vision may ultimately be good news for all of us.
When all things are taken into account, the UK is investing almost nothing in its economic future. The Coalition government may have conjured some temporary growth, but this will disappear without much more new investment and if we want to avoid long-term decline we need to act right now. The hard fact is that productivity growth in the UK has ground to a halt and there's a very simple reason for this: the UK, for the first time since the start of the Industrial Revolution, has virtually stopped investing in the type of economic activities which are capable of delivering increases in output per head of the population.
The extent to which the UK and most of the rest of the Western world are currently mismanaging our economies clearly has a huge financial cost. In the longer term, however, the political cost will be even greater than the economic price - unless we see radical changes in policy. The failure of the West to deliver a reasonable economic performance - combined with the related problem of widespread inability to get difficult decisions taken - has led an increasingly large number of people across the world to consider whether more authoritarian of running modern diversified economies might work better than those based on liberal democracy.
Supposedly manufacturing-free regions of the UK seem to actually have rather a lot of people making things. I know it's frustrating for the headline writers who would rather it wasn't the case, but the North West employing 340,000 people and making £20billion of goods in 2013 just doesn't follow the narrative does it? And what are 125,000 Geordies doing making £6.4 billion of stuff? I thought the paper said they were all strolling around the Quays pissed up and half naked in all weathers. British manufacturing is alive, it's well, it's kicking and it's cool.
If we could rebalance our economy so that we could pay our way in the world, removing the constraints which are the cause of the lack of sufficient job opportunities in the UK, there is no reason why we should not be able to get back to around 3% unemployment, reducing the true numbers for those out of work over a period of time from nearly five million to perhaps one million.