A Tale of Two Economies
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  • One of the ways the Internet is bringing the Anglosphere together is podcasting. Leo LaPort’s TWIT network audience is 30% from outside the US. All his podcasters know, for example, that in Australia to root one’s phone means to know it in the biblical sense. Listener questions arrive from around the Anglopshere with the occasional one from more exotic places like Scandinavia. British guests are common – often Internet entrepreneurs themselves. The upshot is that in the new media Americans are much less insular – more global in their outlook. As a long time expatriate I think this bodes well for the US and the UK and anyone else who wants to join in the fun of building the post Blue economy.

  • Jim.

    I wish the BBC had provided a little more detail about what sort of e-commerce it was engaging in. If Britain’s renowned and lucrative Financial industry were providing the bulk of that two thousand per capita, that might indicate a cap on its growth potential. It would also go a long way to explaining why Silicon Valley tech talk hasn’t given any indication of a British “invasion”.

    Good for the British, anyway, if they can keep up.

  • Toni

    I don’t get the impression that many Brits are yearning for the glory days of empire. But entrepreneurship is strongly rooted in Britain’s centuries of business and financial innovation.

    Who was it who called England “a nation of shopkeepers,” and meant it derisively? But of course that’s one its great strengths.

    Immigrants will participate in innovation only to the extent that immigrants and their families assimilate into British culture. Some do and some don’t; those who choose not to, and ghettoize themselves in welfare dependence, are one of Britain’s greatest challenges.

    As for Greece, many years ago I had a discussion with a friend who’d come here for an advanced computer degree, and stayed, and has a niche software company. That discussion centered on his claim that Americans needed to relax and enjoy life in the laid-back way Greeks did. I just kept asking, “Why are you here?” — meaning, where his software company could thrive.

    But he always brought his aging parents over here for medical treatment, and now I believe he’s brought his widowed mother over here for good, to escape the present turmoil of his native Greece.

    The point of my anecdote is that culture matters, and freedom to innovate unhampered by petty bureaucrats matters. Thank God that in the U.K. and U.S., economic freedom is deeply embedded in our cultural DNA.

  • Andrew Allison

    Fond as my feelings are for the country of my birth and education, I fear that the good professor is too generous. Tech history is rife with examples of technology invented in the UK and commercialized elsewhere. Radar, TV and computers being notable examples. More recently, while ARM is getting rich off licensing, the commercialization of the most power-efficient computer architecture developed to date occurred elsewhere.

  • Kris

    It’s almost ironic that I first came across the story covered by the NYT a month ago.

    Whenever buying anything on the web, I make sure to also check Amazon’s UK site. They sometimes have very interesting deals on DVDs. (Caveat: the accursed region encoding.)

  • Hubbub

    “It may even be that waves of immigration (which many British hate, but which probably do them some good by breaking comfy old habits) will re-energize the UK and give it more of the dynamism and drive that once made it the dread and envy of the world.”

    Or not.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: “Or not.”

    Rest assured: Via Meadia will be watching!

  • Eurydice

    It’s not that Greece is specifically or consciously against innovation – the reason behind this weirdness in Greece is that literally everybody who’s in a position to make decisions (and this includes bankers) is there for political reasons. Expertise in the job at hand is not a requirement, bringing in votes is. So you end up with bank managers who know nothing about running a bank, ministers of tourism who’ve got no clue about tourism, ministers of education who have no education themselves and embassy officials whose last job was “electrician.” And what makes everything even more chaotic (if that’s conceivable) is that half-finished plans, last-minute restructurings, constant cabinet reshuffles and a host of other desperate measures have left all the government offices unable to enact, enforce or effect anything.

    Still, there are several private companies in Greece which are going it alone and figuring out things for themselves, and the government is beginning to look to them for some guidance.

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