It’s time for UK to develop its human capital

Empires rise, and nations fall, largely by the quality of the people which they deploy to solve their problems. Even right wingers as impeccable as Corelli Barnett knew that.[1] The economic and social system of Victorian Britain created a stunted, diseased proletariat and an etiolated ruling class, both utterly unequal to the challenges of the twentieth century. The mighty British Empire collapsed, and the implosion of British power continues to this day, What do we do about it? (overseas readers, there are lessons for you in the UK Laboratory too, you know)

A nation’s basic resource is its human capital. It helps to have mineral resources like oil, or proximity to a large nearby market. But nothing in the end works like a healthy, well trained workforce. Which is why we believe that Beverly Barnett-Jones (we assume she’s no relation to Corelli) has an intriguing answer to the problem:invest in our children. Do it big. Do it now. She makes her case in the Guardian[2]. And we’ve backed her up with some further thoughts for those as might be interested, from the Child Poverty Action Group [3] Healthy contented children make better learners and pay a long term dividend. As every parent knows.

But where does the money have to come from? It’s a question which touches on every major problem from social issues to defence and climate change, It’s one we’ll always listen to. Well, Beverly has an answer, at least for her manor: Check this out

 ………the cost of not investing in early childhood is £16.13bn a year in England. This is the price of the remedial steps we take to address issues – from children in care, to short- and long-term mental and physical health issues – that might have been avoided through action in early childhood

Patriotism is claimed by many as their virtue. For some it consists in fat old men waving flags around glasses of beer and belching loyalties like gassy catechisms. For others it lies in creating healthy human societies where all members have the best chance of living prosperous fulfilling lives, and thus making their countries truly strong. We know which we choose.

thanks to Mr P Seymour

[1] Corelli Barnett The Audit of War Macmillan 1986



#poverty #early years development #human capital #crime #mental illness #education

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