Another discussion I had the other day, this time with a colleague. We were talking about the difference between Silicon Valley in California and Route 128 in Massachussettes (Boston). The colleague correctly pointed to the historical fact that it was the wartime investment by the US government that was responsible for the massive R & D expenditures which laid the groundwork for the Valley’s succcess as a technology center. Scotland, on the other hand, didn’t have such a massive military investment component including R & D expenditure.
However, my argument was that it could and should. Why not make a war?
“HOW TO CREATE SILICON VALLEY IN SCOTLAND” ON SPEED
A war does not necessarily have to be fought against another Country. For example, there is the “War on Drugs”. OK, this is not such a great example, for its a complete failure. But it doesn’t mean that all wars will fail.
CREATE A WAR
Rather, one option for a new war would be a “War on Oil”. Scotland might declare such a war, and take a wartime-like stance and response to the enemy. Massive infrastructure would be invested in, especially in R & D for renewables. Cleantech. Alternative energy. And so forth. The Country could effectively circumvent the nuclear issue by striking it off the list. After all, this is about clean, substainable energy, and innovation, things yet to be discovered.
A massive investment would have to be made. Just as in a real war, they Country shouldn’t be afraid to go into debt to win it.
Paradoxically, by declaring and winning such a war, it may bring the end to other wars yet to come. For there are bound to be more and more wars over Oil. (And later, water). Let’s not kid ourselves. The wars currently fought in the Middle East are essentially over “Texas Tea”, “Black Gold”.
HOW TO MAKE A BIG WARTIME INVESTMENT AND SHARE THE RISK
The government might issue new “Scottish War Bonds” that would be sold to Scots abroad including the Global Scots, to Scots at home, and to people and organizations all over the world. Some good Wall Street and City partners will sell these like hotcakes (Cornell University’s $500 million bond issue sold out in an hour or two; imagine what a Country could do). These bonds will be secured against the intellectual property yet to be created, the tax revenues from this huge new renewable industry, and the returns from the supra venture capital fund.
Research and Development
The largest portion of the proceeds would be put into Research and Development effort. Partners would include universities, corporate research labs, and other social organizations. Suffice to say much planning and creativity would be needed to optimally allocate the R & D capital base effectively.
Supra Venture Capital Fund of Funds
Approximately 20-30% of the bond raise might be placed in a “Scottish Supra-National Fund-of-Funds” that would in turn invest this capital in new venture capital funds that will have a mandate to invest in high growth technology and renewable firms in Scotland.
It will take big venture capital to grow a big renewable and cleantech industry in this Country. And more importantly, it will take a high level of importation of capable fund managers, and multiple venture capital funds that compete against each other. Competition will lead to more start-ups and high-growth companies, and global success.
Size of the War Bond Issue
The size of the war bond issue should be as big as possible. This is a massive war that needs to get everyone behind it. This time people won’t be making tinfoil balls though, but rather putting new shiny tin panels in their gardens to collect the sun.
I’d suggest a bond issue of at least £3 billion, but £30 billion would be more like it. £30 billion would ensure a global impact. Scotland would become known as THE Country for renewables innovation throughout the world.
Huge war ahead.