ST's Crolles fab - largely paid for by the governments originally, and relies on the electricity from the local nuclear power plant paid for by the government. You are tright there is no way the UK government would ever have paid for such a fab - it got pretty scared by the cost of the original Inmos fab in Newport back on 4 inch wafers at 1um.
What has changed over the last 200 years is that UK wealth is not being put into engineering. The railways, the canals, the bridges, the big boats - all were paid for by private capital, which was recycled out of the earlier stages of the industrial revolution. A lot of that original money was pretty dirty - from throwing peasants off the land during the agricultural revolution, using slaves to harvest cotton and sugar, or just paying a pittance to workers in factories (including children).
But investors now put their money into the stock market, property or send it abroad - none of it is going into UK engineering. Is a country sustainable if it makes nothing real? Only if it has some source of wealth it can buy all of its goods from abroad with. And as the UK is now a net importer of oil and gas - we don't have those as a source of wealth. Our recent governments have assumed that "financial services" could substitute for manufacturing to generate wealth - but the last few years have shown this is not a secure (or even valid) option.
This means that the politicians will finally need to recognise that manufacturing is necessary, and investors will need to put up the money.
Peter, It's gene pool, just gene pool.
Bri can only generate so many ppl who can handle a certain math/science proplem. If all of it's ppl are working on IP then they have to give up fab.
My observation is, if a 10% of a company's engineers are struggling, ie can't do a decent/clear analysis, this location is dry,
any further investment will simply be wasted.
they should consider in invest in shoe industry instead.
I like, "But whether that is good, bad, or inevitable," to get out of manufacturing. I think "inevitable" is the best answer. And I think this is something governments can do little about, other that the usual political bleeting in search of that extra vote.
It seems to me that manufacturing will always migrate to where the labor costs are lowest, combined with relative stability of the society. It goes where management sees safe operation at a lower cost. Hard to prevent, and by the way, it isn't all bad either.
The "natural" progression ought to be that countries to which manufacturing migrates will up their standard of living as a direct result, such that the playing field becomes more leveled. We saw this happening in Western Europe after WWII, then in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s, and I expect we will see it happening in China soon.
I always marvel at those who consider themselves lefties, and at the same time they oppose globalization. It is such a contradiction that it boggles the mind.
I am always wondered how does the current trend of departure from the manufacturing compared to the departure from agriculture during the industrial revolution. Somebody need to do some research on this.