Don’t bank on it

April 7, 2016

It may well be the case that individualism and short-termism contribute to the UK’s failure (relative to Germany) in building a state-backed system to commercialise research (“Individualism ‘explains UK’s failure to translate research’”, News, 26 March).

However, one should also take into account the fact that a third of the income of Fraunhofer Institutes comes from the local Länder (regions), that in Germany 40 per cent of banks are public banks with a desire to invest in the real economy and not just fly-by-night financial speculation, and that Germany understands that the basis of the real economy is manufacturing, with services layered on top of that. Only when we (and the politicians) start recognising that investing in manufacturing is a good idea are we likely to enjoy the benefits of a sound and export-positive economy that are seen in Germany.

Douglas Kell
University of Manchester

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