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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of the state of Britain, entertaining and easy to read
This morning I heard on the Today Programme that Max Hastings has been slating the British as idle and useless compared with the Chinese. John Humphreys must have been itching to say, "That's a load of tosh and my colleague Evan Davis's book explains exactly why". Well, I can't be certain that John Humphreys has read the book but I have, and I will never be deceived by...
Published on 25 Jun 2011 by hfffoman

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a dull read
I was expecting a book about world class British companies, but it was more about economics and it was a bit obvious, for instance If you want to survive then make higher value goods or services and it is not necessary to manufacture goods just be smarter in design, see Apple for instance.
I was expecting more from the book and was a bit disappointed the book was...
Published 7 months ago by Hertfordsteve


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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of the state of Britain, entertaining and easy to read, 25 Jun 2011
By 
hfffoman (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This morning I heard on the Today Programme that Max Hastings has been slating the British as idle and useless compared with the Chinese. John Humphreys must have been itching to say, "That's a load of tosh and my colleague Evan Davis's book explains exactly why". Well, I can't be certain that John Humphreys has read the book but I have, and I will never be deceived by ignorant raving about Britain again. Reading it actually changed my opinion.

"Made in Britain" is an extraordinary combination - a serious book about economics which is entertaining, easy to read, easy to understand, balanced and impregnably sound in its judgements. The author is not just a journalist but a respected economist with a background at Oxford, Harvard, London Business School and the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The book is unfortunately littered with typos. The author must have been furious with the BBC for screwing up the schedule so that it went to print before it had been properly edited. But, as he points out astutely in chapter 11, organisations protected from market forces with a licence to collect money, can become too much of a good thing.

This is pretty much a must-read for anyone interested in the state of Britain or worried about our future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons to be cheerful, part 4?, 26 Sep 2011
By 
Steve Keen "therealus" (Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
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Britain, the doomsayers would have you believe, is sinking in a dead-end economy in which manufacturing is reduced to an insignificant rump, replaced by burger-flipping and call centres. The common complaint, here as in the US and, no doubt, Japan, is "We used to make stuff..."

In this well-balanced assessment of the reality of post-modern British industry, Evan Davis tries to cheer up the Eeyores, first of all showing that, despite conceptions to the contrary, our European neighbours France and Germany also don't manufacture that much any more, and that although Americans are in aggregate better off at least we don't have to work their hours. More importantly, what we do manufacture is pretty damn good; world leading, in fact, when we look at UK companies like GlaxoSmithKline, ARM Holdings and Brompton, but also in foreign-owned factories such as that of Nissan near Sunderland.

That's less than half the story, though, (in fact, less than a quarter) because the majority of British industry is based on services, and there we really are good. We just need to ensure we understand how to stay ahead of the game in that respect, as emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil move up the value chain, and there the government has a crucial role to play in ensuring it not only encourages the right behaviours but also in ensuring it does not stifle the success stories. For example, in imposing increasingly restrictive conditions on student visas we not only deny ourselves the revenues from tuition fees from newly affluent citizens of the rising economies, we also deny ourselves access to overseas talent. Davis uses the example of post 9/11 US policy to demonstrate the potential effects.

Davis's writing is very accessible, and he has written for non-specialists, being very sparing with economic terminology, although he does explain the concepts of gross value added and comparative advantage well. His treatment of the 1960s "I'm backing Britain" campaign is hilarious, and he also deals with objections to working conditions in overseas joint venture firms: the living quarters of Chinese workers in a British-Chinese suit factory in Shandong Province are certainly sparse, but beat anything described in Orwell's Down And Out In Paris And London. Particularly user friendly is his use of an analogy from Wolfe's The Bonfire Of The Vanities to explain how the finance industry profits from the "crumbs" of its transactions.

There are without doubt some oversights. Strangely, in dealing with the benefits of overseas talent he overlooks one of the UK's biggest contributions to the new economy, fibreoptic technology, developed in the 1960s in Harlow by Sir Charles Kao, an overseas-born graduate of UCL, an internationally renowned institution. There's also no mention of the British fashion industry, worth twice as much to GDP as manufacturing, and he references JK Rowling and Harry Potter but not the potential for the British film industry.

The book is also shot through with an inordinate amount of bad editing, with many forms of the verb "to be" totally lost, numerous stray prepositions, a couple or three sentences which can only be understood through deep analysis, and typos such as "excised" for "exercised" and "economy" for "economic".

Overall, though, this is a good book, worthwhile reading and perhaps for buying for anyone wishing we could go back to the golden age of steam trains, coal mines and blast furnaces.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a dull read, 7 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Made in Britain (Kindle Edition)
I was expecting a book about world class British companies, but it was more about economics and it was a bit obvious, for instance If you want to survive then make higher value goods or services and it is not necessary to manufacture goods just be smarter in design, see Apple for instance.
I was expecting more from the book and was a bit disappointed the book was quite superficial.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The British Economy as it really is, whether we like it or not, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living (Paperback)
What a fantastic book to read! It will open your mind about what Britain still has to offer the world and challenge your views on services v manufacturing. I personally work with British exporters and see a lot of what Evan Davis writes about put into practice every day. The British economy has changed and it keeps changing - will we embrace the change and feel proud of our achievements and excited about what's ahead? A clever, thought-provoking book that you'll go back to again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 18 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living (Paperback)
brilliant, in depth analysis, good to have a varied opinion so was a good read would reccomend as a first read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, insightful and substantial, 20 Nov 2011
By 
R. Parry (Bahamas) - See all my reviews
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Economics was dubbed "the dismal science" by Victorian historian Thomas Carlyle - reacting to the doom-laden population predictions of Thomas Malthus - but this entertainingly written and cleverly researched book is anything but dismal. It elicits a mood of optimism and potential when looking at the history of and prospects for the British economy. It is a well-argued antidote to the current economic gloom.

Evan Davis is a well known economist and British broadcaster who made his name with shows like Dragons Den but in writing Made in Britain he shows a deep and knowledgeable engagement with how British industry developed and the sort of businesses that are creating value today. His argument is that the economy is always in flux and the challenge is to get the right balance of manufacturing, services and the creation of intellectual property. He argues, and clearly shows, that those in love with nostalgic, sepia-toned notions of the sanctity of manufacturing are just as narrow minded as those who argue that we will end up us a purely service based nation. In the aftermath of the debt laden financial crash it is the balance that we must rediscover.

I missed all the BBC broadcasts which accompanied this publication but I can attest that the book stands alone as a good read and a thought provoking analysis. It is perhaps a bit of an indictment of the BBC that the series, only broadcast very recently is no longer available on the iPlayer or DVD. A change of BBC policy may be required for such genuinely valuable and timeless programmes.

Another well used phrase - this from JM Keynes - is that "practical men are slaves of some defunct economist." Mr Davis is far from defunct and what is so powerful about his book is the way he shows that many commonly held economic beliefs such as "imports bad - exports good" and "trade deficit are evil" need to be reassessed in the more nuanced world of the increasing global economy.

For those who want a more balanced view of the prospects of Britain and for those who just want a bit of cheering up Made in Britain is a first class read from a convincing and accomplished author.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an in-depth review but a recommendation to read this book, 21 May 2012
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living (Paperback)
Other reviewers have taken the time and care to review this book in greater depth than I and I don't intend to contradict any of that. All I would say is that I read this book virtually in one sitting on a Sunday and there can't be many books on economics of which you can say that. If you are familiar with Mr Davis on the TV you will find that his breezy yet deceptively incisive style is replicated here, making the book very readable and helps one make sense of the economic turmoil that is going on around us. I suppose, not being anything close to knowedgeable about economics, there may be some criticism that this book isn't as in depth as it might be but for me that is the point of it. It is for the general reader and in that it succeeds admirably.

Obviously it is not quite up to date as events in Greece etc have rather overtaken the news since the book was first published, but from a British perspective you can take some of the lessons you will read in here and transpose them onto the Eurozone "crisis" for example and it will suddenly make some sort of sense.

I can't praise this book highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read even for non economists, 24 July 2014
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This review is from: Made in Britain (Kindle Edition)
Evan Davis leads the reader through an examination of the British Economy explaining economic concepts in an easy and accessible manner. Some really interesting examples making this one of the best books I've read on the subject. I'm proud to be British!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but doesn't cover public sector, 26 Jan 2012
By 
Mr. S. P. Bracken "steveb65" (United States) - See all my reviews
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The book certainly shows how diversified the British economy is, describing how the country has left low-value manufacturing to China/India, whilst retaining high-end and niche engineering capabilities and how there is an ongoing trend away from manufacturing and into services and other activities such as branding and advertising.

One of Evan's key points about manufacturing is that we don't save enough to have heavy manufacturing capability. Such an industry would require long term investment funds that simply aren't available.

Another key point is that we have more recently become over-reliant on service industries (particularly financial) to the degree that we are slowly losing our national identity by acting as a host nation to rich foreigners. This has lead to negative balance of payments, which eventually needs to be compensated for.

One of his main conclusions is that our while our economy is fundamentally healthy, it needs re-balancing away from some service sectors and back towards manufacturing. We can only do this by saving more.

All of these are valid, well-argued points, but what is missing is that part of the economy accounting for half of our GDP is simply not covered : the public sector. Evan repeatedly ducks out of this by saying he doesn't want to get involved in arguments over the role of government.

What the book covers is entertaining and thought provoking (I found the concept of thinking about yourself as both a producer and consumer when considering the export of manufacturing to China particularly interesting). But by limiting the book to private sector activity, Evan has only described half of the UK economy and skirted important issues such as the role of government intervention in the economy, how taxation affects output etc. etc.

In short an excellent book on what it covers, but too much is missing to give a complete description of the UK economy.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appologies for Thatcherism, 22 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living (Paperback)
This book seeks to big up the mess that thatcher left as her legacy. Davis leaves no stone unturned in his bid to assure us that everything is just fine. A more biased vision of how this country's economic health stands would be hard to find. Davis seems to hang out in all the same places as Cameron.
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Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living
Made In Britain: How the nation earns its living by Evan Davis (Paperback - 3 May 2012)
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