Chapter 4: The Knowledge Base, Research and Development and Regional Economic Policy: The US and UK Experience
William F. Lever INTRODUCTION As the world becomes increasingly concerned about the onset of recession, whose depth and likely duration is uncertain, it may seem shortsighted or parochial to focus on local economic policy. Currently, national factors, and global processes, offer the most widely adopted explanations of the downturn. The fact that there are economy-based riots in Vladivostok and Moscow suggests that the whole of Russia has economic problems which stem from the two-thirds reduction in the price of oil. All Chinese cities seem to be suffering their share of the Chinese downturn in the economic growth rate from 10 per cent p.a. to 6 per cent p.a. So global has the economic downturn become that global unemployment rates are now being calculated and forecast at the global scale for the first time by the IMF and the ILO. Global unemployment rose from 180 million out of a total of 3 billion (5.6 per cent) in 2007, to 190 million (6.2 per cent) in 2008 and to 200 million (6.9 per cent) in 2009 (O’Grady, 2009). In this context, however, there is still justification for examining economy at the local scale, either urban or regional. Successful local policy intervention may be able to ameliorate or offset the impact of national or global recession. Even if this does not happen, local policy can place cities or regions on a better footing to benefit when growth returns. The British government has been criticized for not putting its financial house in order during...
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