The independent London newspaper

There are challenges ahead with manufacturing recovery

17 July, 2020

• THANK you for publishing John Mills’s Forum, (Manufacturing is key to a recovery, July 10).

We agree that we need to change from running our country largely for the benefit of services “to giving higher priority to industry”.

All manufacturing is productive, that is, it not only pays the wages of the worker and the transporter and the cost of raw materials and depreciation but also what Marxists term surplus value in the form of rent, interest, profit and taxes together with an often inflated reward for intellectual property incorporated in the product.

Services may also be productive. In the United Kingdom they are more likely to be non-productive and paid out of surplus value. The problem lies in how to get productive industry going again in this country.

China is now, to some extent, a developed country. It is able to manufacture goods which are often rather better than those produced in this country at a fraction of the price.

Furthermore China has, since 2013, embarked on the Belt and Road Initiative by which it will, on the basis of equality, help underdeveloped countries to develop.

These countries are potentially just as good as we are. If we don’t have productive industry we shall have to live off surplus value. This situation cannot continue for ever.

The question is how do we bring back manufacturing industry to this country or, at least, provide the infrastructure necessary for us to be able to cope with the rainy day when the surplus value becomes less available?

Compton Street, EC1


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