Response from the Academic Entrepreneur to The Economist article on Scottish Independence

The Academic Entrepreneur would like to comment on the forthcoming article published in the Economist “Pounded into Submission“.

The Economist is an English publication with definitive English slant and bias. I am a longtime reader of the publication and do appreciate its perspectives at times, but often do not agree with everything.  Mr. Salmond has become the target of the anti-independence campaign and anything to rip into his persona and show his incompetence is up for grabs. It’s all about Mr. Salmond’s ego, the NOs tell me.

However, Mr. Salmond is not going to be at the helm 50 years henceforth. And this is about what the country looks like 50 years from now.

Unfortunately, Mr. Salmond has to play politics and win votes. 3 out of 4 people want to stick with the pound, so he promised that. The EU membership is also important to about the same ratio of people. Scots like the EU. So he promised that.  Now these strategies of winning votes are backfiring. The Economist is right about that.  The Economist may also be right up the potential of the economy, if one buys their assumption that Scotland will continue on its track as essentially a “Wee Canada” or more realistically a “Wee England”.  The oil may well run out. We don’t know.

“Mr Salmond promises Scots the grown-up equivalent of free ice cream: an easy separation that will leave everyone better off. This is a confection. An independent Scotland might be able to pay its way at first, but its finances will deteriorate sharply as its people age and the North Sea runs out of oil and gas. Even while it remains a petro-state, Scotland’s revenues will veer up and down with oil prices. It could not sustain its current (very large) welfare bill, let alone the extra toppings the nationalists promise, involving free child care and the like…”  The Economist

However, more unfortunate is that the discourse has not been taken up a notch, and a grander vision given to the people. Imaging a new economy with a new currency and relaying that vision to the people of Scotland is another strategy (and granted a risky one that could backfire). Leveraging the intellectual and creative assets of the country in order to realize full potential in a newly independent state is an exciting thing to talk about. The new ability to set cutting-edge innovation policy, establish a new benchmark for a cryptocurrency that could become the world’s standard, and import entrepreneurs and creatives from all over the world — that’s exciting.

Imagine the Edinburgh Festival being a year-round event, for instance. 300 performances, shows, musical event per day. 365 days a year.

Imagine Dundee hosting the world’s largest wet lab incubator for life sciences startups in the world, surrounded by GBP 36 BILLION in new venture capital supply from a supranational fund-of-funds catalyzed by innovative immigration policy.

Imagine another GBP 36 billion in venture capital supply for the alternative / renewable energy sectors. What about all those wave power deals that could be done?

Imagine another GBP 36 billion in annual research funding for Scottish Universities, over and above what they are receiving now.

Imagine 100 incubators of different sizes, shapes and focus areas in Glasgow. And in each Scottish City of any size.

Imagine an artist attraction programme that brings in artists from all over the world and gives them citizenship along with a GBP 100K grant to create works of art and new businesses around these works through the assistance of an arts incubation programme

Imagine every abandoned lonely church of the Church of Scotland being turned into an  incubator, with those in rural areas playing the role of providing high bandwidth and free internet access to the peoples of the rural community.

Imagine an explosion in new horticulture.

Assuming that there is no grander innovation strategy and plan for Scotland is dire. Two key levers: currency and immigration policy are magic ingredients for the emerging imagination economy in Scotland. The country can differentiate itself from every other Western country right now through embracing cryptocurrency and liberalizing its immigration intake. Imagine Scotland becoming the new land for entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, writers, makers, engineers, tight rope walkers, dancers, singers, musicians, horticulturalists, hackers, traders, geeks, techies, gliders, skydivers, hillwalkers, mountain bikers, surfers, performers, educators and researchers from all over the world.

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