Never has so much been written by so many in so short a time. Hence I will be brief. I will confine myself to three observations on what I see happening in the UK that have been less well covered in the media. In the end, I remain an optimist. My instinct is that the UK continues to have a relatively bright future. The British attitude is to get on with things. This inherently makes us ‘risk takers’, but that remains one of the virtues of being British.
The recent substantial fall off in oil prices is sometimes portrayed as threatening the ongoing transformation of developed-country power markets to low-carbon technologies. However, the recent fossil-fuel sell off may actually create an opportunity to accelerate the transformation. Read more…
I had the honour to speak at the UK Coaltrans conference earlier in the week, held at the Carlton Towers Jumeirah hotel. Beautiful hotel, and a well attended conference. Of course, given the recent Energy Act, and the fact that energy issues are high on the political agenda, there was a particular edge to the debate. What are my own views on the complex topic of UK electricity generation?
The UK faces substantial challenges in 2014. Are we approaching the end of the Union? There have been many predictions and analyses about how the Scottish vote will go, and in an earlier blog, I myself made some observations on the subject. In my view, the issues at play need to be debated in the realm of ideas, and are little to do with short-term political costs and benefits, which are usually used to frame the question. For me, as Arthur Miller put it: ‘An era can be said to end, when its basic illusions are exhausted’. So the issue for the UK is to consider its illusions, and assess whether we have reached the end of the road.
I had the privilege to travel off the beaten track in India this week, into its rural heartland, where the tranquility of the cows resting on the roads is the dominant feature, rather than the bustle and hooting of the cars and bikes in Mumbai. Perhaps inevitably, given my economic background, I am often asked on my views on India’s economic prospects, all the more so after the recent weakness of the rupee and the appointment of a new Governor of the Bank of India, Raghuraam Rajan.
It is impossible to do justice to the Indian economic situation in a matter of a few sentences. That said, it seems to me that there are three critical points that are worth emphasizing about the country’s medium-term economic development.