Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sometimes Some Politicians Talk Good Sense

Gordon Brown, UK CHancellor of the Exchequer (and Prime Minister in waiting) speaks at 'The Government Leaders Forum' at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, today, 1 February:

Two centuries and more ago, the very idea of globalisation - of a wholly global interconnected economy - was anticipated by Adam Smith, the great Scottish economist, who was born in my home town of Kirkcaldy.

Brought up by the waterfront, looking out from his window over the North Sea, witnessing a hundred and more ships coming in and out of Kirkcaldy to trade, he could see with his own eyes how trade was the engine of wealth creation, that an increasingly specialised division of labour would drive nations to seek their comparative advantage through innovation and trade, and his book 'The Wealth of Nations' explained the foundations of the world's first industrial revolution starting here in Britain.

And now today, driven by the same dynamic of technology and trade that Adam Smith observed, but this time with global and not just national or continental flows of capital and labour as well as of goods and services, we are at the birth of the creation of a new world order, as dramatically different for the 21st century as the growth of the industrial revolution was for the 19th century.

It took just 40 years for the first 50 million people to own a radio;
• Just 16 years for the first 50 million people to own a PC;
• But just 5 years for the first 50 million to be on the Internet.

Today one hundred million people are using online communities such as MySpace or YouTube. On the Internet, one million new postings are made every day, and one new blog is created every second - a world so interdependent and connected that we talk now, not just as Adam Smith did, of the wealth of nations, but of the wealth of networks.”

Gordon Brown tends to refer to Adam Smith often in his speeches and this occasion is one of his more relevant and accurate contributions. Often criticised, Brown deserves credit when he speaks good sense.

His speech illustrates the appropriate linking of a current issue to Smith’s legacy, and for that reason I highly commend him for it.

Read the whole speech at:

While the focus is on globalization from a Scottish/UK perspective, the essence of his theme is, er, global, so no matter where you are it has high significance for you and your part of the world too.


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