The extended economic recession we have been facing in the UK since the 2008 financial crisis, and the rising levels of unemployment here, have raised significant concern about what the government can and should be doing to help revitalize the economy. Should the British government engage in ?industrial policy?, subsidising particular industries? Should it invest in education and research in the sciences and engineering? Should it finance new infrastructural projects? Should it try to attract large businesses from abroad? Should it be developing policies to help domestic small and medium enterprises [SMEs] to grow?
The BBC radio program ?The World Tonight? broadcast an interesting news program on Monday, November 28th, comparing the approach being taken by the Scottish government, through the ?Scottish Enterprise? office, with the very different approach being taken in the Northeast of England by the Conservative/Liberal Democratic coalition, under the leadership of David Cameron.
How would Adam Smith judge the Scottish efforts, compared to the approach of David Cameron?s government in the Northeast of England? What about Michael Porter, how would he assess their different approaches?
After listening to the ?The World Tonight? podcast and after researching the issues in more depth, please write an essay, in which you do the following:
1. Give some background about the state of affairs in the Northeast of England and in Scotland, and about the ways that the governments there have been responding to the current economic recession.
2. Describe Adam Smith?s and Michael Porter?s theories about the optimal development of national economies, and the proper role of the state and international trade in national economic development.
3. Analyse the recent government efforts in the Northeast England and in Scotland, applying these theories. What do you think Adam Smith would advise, were he asked to testify before Parliament on this issue? What do you think Michael Porter would advise? Do you think the two theorists would give similar or different advice about what the governments here in the UK should do, in their efforts to respond to the economic recession and high levels of unemployment? What would their reasoning be?
? The essay should have an introduction and a conclusion, plus three clearly marked subsections, each dedicated to one of the three parts of the question enumerated above.
? The second subsection of the essay should include at least two quotes from Adam Smith?s The Wealth of Nations (Book IV, Chapter 2), and at least two quotes from Michael Porter?s 1998 Harvard Business Review article ?Clusters and the New Economics of Competition?.
? It should include references from academic books and journal articles as well as from quality newspaper and news magazine stories, from publications such as:
The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, American Prospect Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The Economist, Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die Zeit, etc…
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