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Goodbye the Golden Eggs of Banking?

As political consensus emphasises the need for Britain to rebalance its economy away from banking, Janan Ganesh asks if promoting manufacturing will really make the country richer.

Time was when the City of London and the financial services industry generally were the apple of most politicians' eyes. The fabulous wealth they generated and taxes they paid seemed to set Britain on the road to lasting prosperity without having to worry about its manufacturing sector. With the crash, the political consensus has turned. Now, metal-bashing is back in favour and the bankers can do no right. The ritual call, heard at least once a generation, for Britain's economy to be more like Germany's is echoing across the land again.

But is making things rather than financial innovation really the way to make Britain's economy grow faster? When we have a competitive edge in banking and managing money, should we cast it aside? And why should Britain's economy be the same as that of other countries?

Janan Ganesh of the "Economist" asks if we should be turning our back on the goose that has laid our golden eggs for so many years. And, with no immediate signs that manufacturing is taking off on a bountiful new trajectory, considers if we should try to understand the City better and how it can assist Britain grow again.

Producer: Simon Coates.

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30 minutes

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