Science and technology to rescue economy, says PM

The Prime Minister has told Oxford University students that science and technology will be vital to the economic recovery of the UK.

Speaking at this year’s Romanes Lecture last Friday, Gordon Brown expressed his belief in science and innovation as a source of economic security.

“We must invest in the key sectors where Britain is well-placed to lead – from low carbon to the NHS and pharmaceuticals; from education to the digital and creative industries,” he said.

So far so good. More contentious, though, were Brown’s remarks on the UK economy’s reliance on the financial services sector.

Now is the time “to move away from an economy centred so heavily on financial services – and on finding ever more arcane ways to price complex derivatives – to one that is broader-based with a new focus on science and innovation,” he said.

Brown’s comments seem to underplay the role that science and technological innovation have played in shaping the financial services industry as we know it today, and the degree to which the financial services sector has driven innovation in IT.

Certainly, no bank or trader has ever found an ‘arcane way of pricing complex derivatives’ with out the help of a computer.

You can read the whole lecture here.

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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